The Difference Education Makes

If you read my post ‘Malala Yousafzai, and Fence Sitting’ from a few weeks ago, then you will already know that Malala is a huge inspiration to me. Earlier this week – on December 10th, to be exact – she received the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Norway.

My dad left out an article from the newspaper about Malala, and Kailash Satyarthi who also won the prize. Satyarthi,who fights against child labour and advocates for children’s rights, spoke about the right for every child and girl to have an education.

“Islamic extremist groups dislike knowledge because it is a condition for freedom,” he said. “Attendance at school, especially by girls, deprives such forces from power.”

Knowledge being a condition for freedom reminded me of something my dad told me a few years ago. I was reading ‘The Chrysalids’ by John Wyndham for a class novel study. One homework question mentioned the fact that the students did not go to school, and then asked for some possible reasons for this.

I didn’t know why, so I asked my dad. He told me that if the characters were educated, they would have realized that the way they were being treated was wrong. Their government knew it was better to deprive them of an education, so that they did not develop any independence or try to rebel against the norms of their society.

Though this happened nearly 3 years ago, it has stuck with me. Education is not a right. It should be, because every child deserves it. But currently, education is a privilege. We often don’t see it for what it really is, beyond our right to have it.

Education gives us the knowledge to learn about what is “right”. It allows us to learn how to think critically about things. I think that as education becomes more widely available, and current education improves, we will see a generation of young people who are not afraid to stand up for what is right.

There are so many stereotypes about teenagers, but look at Malala Yousafzai. She is an example of an amazing teenager who knows what is right and isn’t afraid to stand up for it. As Malala continues to share her story and inspire other people I hope that teenagers and adults alike join her cause. With education, we are given the knowledge to change what we know isn’t right, and the power to make a difference in the world.

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