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Class Dismissed in Swat Valley

March 20, 2009, 11:19 am
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A short documentary profiling an 11-year-old Pakistani girl on the last day before the Taliban close down her school.

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Randle, D. (2009). Class Dismissed in Swat Valley. Retrieved from http://www.globalhealing.net/view/news/51cbeae17896bb431f686385

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David Randle (Author) wrote: 04-01-2009 08:42:28

ATTACKS ON GIRLS’ SCHOOLS JEOPARDIZES PAKISTAN’S FUTURE, SAYS UNESCO CHIEF New York, Apr 1 2009 10:00AM The future of all of Pakistan is being endangered by ongoing threats to girls’ education in the country’s north, the head of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) said today. For months, there have been attacks on schools, teachers and students, with girls’ educational institutes being singled out for attack in the Swat district of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP), UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura noted, with both the Government and the Taliban having set up military posts in school buildings. Last year, over 150 schools – two-thirds of which were girls’ schools – were destroyed by the Taliban and their allies in the NWFP. In the Swat Valley, the Taliban decreed in December 2008 that all girls’ educational facilities must close their doors by 15 January 2009, adding that they would attack schoolgirls and their schools after the deadline. “Hostage-taking is never acceptable,” he said. “But when the hostages are schoolboys and schools girls, the situation is even more shocking. The future of an entire country is taken hostage through its education system.” In February, a ceasefire was signed between the Pakistani Government and the main Taliban group in the region, known as the TTP, which said that girls could theoretically return to school. In spite of that agreement, “fear still reigns,” with many parents still refusing to send their daughters to school and teachers having fled the region in recent weeks, Mr. Matsuura said. Last month, there was a suicide attack on a girls’ school in Baluchistan, in eastern Pakistan. To reassure frightened parents and teachers, any agreement must reflect the Government’s commitment to the goals of ‘Education for All,’ including facilitating girls’ access to education, Mr. Matsuura stressed. “A strong signal must be sent, so that everyone can once more benefit from education, which is a determining factor for their future and for the future of the country,” he declared. ______