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Education is becoming an extremist battleground in Pakistan

The Washington Post – Tahir Andrabi and Asim Ijaz Khwaja

“The one year anniversary commemorations of the heinous attack on a Peshawar public school were barely over when gunmen once again went from classroom to classroom killing students and staff at a Pakistani university nearby. The sickening attack confirmed that the Taliban is waging a carefully considered ideological war in Pakistan — and the nation’s more than 200,000 public and private schools are now at the front lines. In doing so, they are attacking the one area of Pakistani society where there is clear reason for optimism, as the growth of low-cost private schools in recent decades has given more and more young people, particularly girls, access to education…Protecting more than 30 million children spread across thousands of locations is not something the security forces can accomplish by themselves…Ordinary citizens must affirm by their beliefs, words, and actions in everyday life that they recognize the danger that resides among them.”(more)

Julia Gillard puts spotlight on girls’ education as vital to global economy

The Guardian – Staff Writer

“More than 58 million children around the world are missing out on a primary school education and the majority of them are girls, the former prime minister Julia Gillard has said…“It is morally just and right to educate girls,” Gillard told a free public lecture at the University of Adelaide on Monday. “It can also be looked at through a security lens. There is a reason that terrorists violently target the education of girls. Women’s empowerment is the antithesis of their brutal ideology of subjugation…””(more)

Far Fewer Students ‘Afraid’ at School, Federal Data Show

Education Week – Evie Blad

“A new collection of federal data on school safety and climate released last week shows several positive trends. Fewer high school students reported being in physical fights on school grounds, fewer teens reported victimization at school, and fewer students reported carrying weapons at school, according to various federal data sources…In addition, the percentage of students who reported being “afraid of attack or harm at school or on the way to and from school” dropped from 12 percent in 1995 to 3 percent in 2013…The report comes at a time when a growing number of schools are working to address students’ needs for physical and emotional safety and to build supportive relationships throughout the school environment.”(more)

Campaign to stop attacks on schools

BBC News – Sean Coughlan

“More than 30 countries have signed up for a Safe Schools Declaration in response to the deliberate targeting of education in war and terror attacks…The international declaration follows a pattern of deliberate attacks on students, teachers and school and university buildings. This has seen violent assaults such as Taliban gunmen killing more than 140 students and staff at a school in Peshawar in December…But this is part of a much wider problem, with researchers estimating that there were 10,000 violent attacks on education between 2009 and 2013, in 70 countries, with particular problems in parts of the Middle East, Africa, south Asia and Latin America…The countries signing up to the Safe Schools Declaration want to build an international consensus around protecting pupils and education staff, both from deliberate attacks and accidental damage in conflict.”(more)

Teaching Peace and Life Skills in Schools: Why Not?

The Huffington Post – Matthew Albracht

“Schools are our main social avenue of learning. While the primary focus of teaching in schools is predominantly on academic skills, many feel that life skills are equally important. We face conflict and sometimes violence at almost every stage and in every area of our lives. In fact, conflict that is not dealt with effectively can be one of the biggest detriments to success both in school as well as in life…It seems only logical that our nation invest more heavily in prioritizing basic social and emotional learning, conflict resolution education, and peacebuilding skills woven into our core school curriculum…Here is an overview of empowering strategies and programs with proven efficacy:”(more)

Decade Of Change For College Students: Less Religious, More Diverse And Lonely

The Huffington Post – Tyler Kingkade

“America’s college students have become less religious, more stressed and overwhelmingly in favor of marriage equality over the past decade. Campus life has grown more complicated, with soaring complaints of sexual violence and students so captivated by social media that they’re hanging out less with friends. And, with many students now burdened by a lifetime of student loan payments, graduation no longer provides a tidy passage from school to career. For The Huffington Post’s 10th birthday, we looked at how life for college students has changed over the past decade, digging deeper than last year’s look at how pop culture has changed on campus since 2005. Here are some of the big developments:”(more)