Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Education & Girls

Whilst one nation urges more to be done regarding the education of girls, in another, schools are closing.

From a story originally published in the Daily Trust:
"Governor Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno State has been urged to introduce a separate budget for the promotion of girls' education so as to boost the enrolment of the girl-child into primary schools."

The consultant of an NGO in the state, Girls' Education Project, Mrs Naomi Maiguwa, said:
".... that even though government efforts had improved girls' enrolment into schools by about 80 percent in the state, the problem could only be eradicated if adequate funds were appropriated.

She made a passionate appeal to traditional and religious leaders to enlighten the general public on the need to allow girls to acquire education like their male counterparts and called on the government to sustain the Girls' Education Project."

And yet .... in another corner of the globe:
"The relentless terrorist acts rendered 131 girl schools non-functional, while forcing around 17,200 girls to stop going to schools."

From The News International an article reveals that war has caused the closure of many schools attended by girls. These acts were deemed intentional, as militants in the area consider the education of females to be " ‘un-Islamic’ and promoting ‘obscenity’ "

The article further states:
"According to an official data obtained by ‘The News’, the insurgents destroyed 40 girl schools since July 2007, when the tension gripped the district, to May 2008. The violence came to a halt on May 9 when the NWFP government and Taliban operating under the command of Maulana Fazlullah announced a ceasefire.

However, after the collapse of ceasefire agreement on June 23, the suspected militants started destroying girl schools in Matta and Kabal tehsils, though the Swat Taliban had denied their hand in the destruction of schools. They have been blaming a ‘third force’ for the attacks on schools.

There are 566 girl schools in Swat, including four government girls higher secondary schools, 22 girls high schools, 51 girls middle schools and 489 primary schools. Out of the total, 131 girl schools have been closed, putting an end to the education of 17,200 girl students.

The dropout rate, particularly among girl students, has been constantly nose-diving, as female literacy rate stands at 22.89 per cent and that of male at 52.79 per cent, with an overall lizteracy rate of at 37 per cent."

It is a shame that what we in the West would consider a most basic of rights - education - is being denied to many. It is also a shame that a denial of education due to political and / or religious views should ever come to such a point where violence is employed as a means to an end.


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