Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani education activist that survived a Taliban attack last October, is the courageous face of a global fight for human rights, starting with free and compulsory education for all. Last Friday she spoke to the United Nations, focusing on the influence of education on the lives of individuals and the improvement of communities around the world. She issued a “call upon all governments to ensure free, compulsory education all over the world for every child.”
Fortunately in Utah, schools are not targets of violent attacks. Instead, policy makers and community leaders repeatedly affirm in word and action their support for education.
However, more still can be done. At 51st in the nation, Utah is still last for K through 12 education funding. Even this week, a senator in the Utah Legislature argued for ending compulsory education. Last year marked the first time that students paid more in tuition for public higher education than what the state paid into the system–so much for that public part. Meanwhile, the price of higher education continues to increase every year.
Malala Yousafzai spoke for those without a voice, calling for greater peace and tolerance. She emphasized that education must be first. From Pakistan to Utah, education is the foundation for a greater future. Education is our best solution.
You can read the full text of Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the United Nations here.