Monday, April 06, 2009

Director-General expresses deep concern about girls’ education in Pakistan’s Swat Valley: “The future of an entire country is taken hostage”

Pupil of a primary school
class in slum areas of Karachi
© UNESCO/Akhtar Soomro

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today expressed his concern about continuing threats to girls’ education in the Swat Valley in Pakistan.

“The situation of education in the Swat Valley is particularly worrying. For months, attacks have struck educational institutions, teaching staff and students. Girls’ schools have especially been targeted, and the two camps have set up military posts in school buildings. Even if the ceasefire announced in February seems to be good news, fear still reigns. Many teachers and thousands of families have deserted the region. Parents still refuse to send their daughters to school. Only an agreement clearly reflecting the commitment of the Pakistani government to the goals of Education for All, including facilitating girls’ access to education, can reassure them. 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”, declared the Director-General.

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