Girls refusing to be silent on being denied an education
(Image via Ihsan Wazirivool)
Ihsan Wazirvool from Waziristan region of Pakistan has raised concerns over the failure of authorities to ensure that teachers are turning up to deliver lessons to students in Wana for which they are paid. Wana is the largest town of South Waziristan Agency in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Wazirvool alleges the situation has got so bad, female students are now demonstrating in public to highlight the need for their education to continue. Posting a photograph of the disgruntled pupils, he writes,
“This is the picture of the students of the government high school Dabkot Wana who came out on road last day to protest against the non availability of the teaching staff. They closed the road between Wana and Aza Worsak for few hours. They said that the teachers are not permanently attending the classes for the past six years.
They said that our future is in the dark and we want to brighten it with the candle of education. They said of the teachers that will not come to attend the schools regularly they will continue their strikes till the authorities take action against those teachers.
It happened for the very first time in the history that girls came out on roads in a shape of protest to demand their rights. I think it a very positive step toward the awareness and change in the society in the area which is controlled by Taliban for more then a decade and they have impose ban on girls’ education. They are all Malalas.”
Malala Yousafzai is a young girl and campaigner on education for girls who was shot by the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) in Pakistan. Many media misreported the story as her being attacked due to fighting for the right to be educated. The Taliban denied this was the case stating it was not about education but that she had maligned the Taliban. They consider Malala an “enemy of Islam” according to their official statements to Pakistan media and the Wall Street Journal.
Wazirvool was asked if there had been any issue with the Taliban over the girls’ education in this particular case. He replied, “No they have not yet been threatened by the Taliban.”
Wazirvool criticized the authorities for not taking a proper look at teachers’ attendance rates and checking on the schools. He says there have been no protests by male students regarding teachers not fulfilling their commitments.
The girls are determined to continue their struggle and ensure their rights are met. Pakistan is a predominately Muslim country and Islam stresses the importance of education for women. It remains to be seen whether the young activists will shame those responsible for their education into sorting out the problem of absent teachers so that they can continue their schooling as a matter of urgency. So far there has been no response.
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.