On Monday, Mr Davison gave an assembly to year 7 students...
Do you really value education?
- Would you walk three miles / five kilometres and back each day to go to school?
- Would you walk that far in you bare feet each day?
- Would you risk your life to go to school?
Here's some information about someone who really does value education.
This is Malala Yousafzai and I would like to tell you a little bit about her.
When Malala was born in the Swat valley in Pakistan in 1997, it was a beautiful and peaceful mountainous area, not unlike Switzerland. Malala went to a school of over 1000 boys and girls run by her father. He realised the value of education and wanted schooling to be available to all children.
But things turned very bad for the people of the Swat valley when they were invaded by the Taliban, a group of political extremists who ran things and controlled people through extreme violence. They imposed their extreme rule on the people of the area. Those who protested were tortured or murdered. Malala was 11 when the Taliban ruled that girls could not go to school. They did not believe in education for women as they saw their role in life as staying at home and having children.
Malala’s best friend disappeared around this time. When she returned, she was married and had a baby. She was thirteen. But Malala was brave. She knew that this was a terrible injustice and spoke out against the Taliban and their barbaric rule. She realised the value of education and was prepared to do what was necessary to stand up for the right for every child to make their lives better through education.
But on the 9th October 2012, Malala’s life was changed for ever. She was taken by the Taliban and shot. She was a child of 15.
Please just think about that for a minute. Aged 15, she was shot.
Luckily, Malala survived. She was in a coma with a bullet in her head but was rescued. After a few days, she was flown to the UK where doctors were able to perform surgery on her. She was taken to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham and eventually, after many months of painful surgery, she was able to walk and talk again. A titanium plate was used to repair her skull and electronic implants allowed her to hear again. From that moment, Malala resolved to fight against injustice by campaigning for education for girls around the world.
She is now living in England, is studying for her A levels and is hoping to go to university this year.
But her relentless campaigning has made her a world figure. She is still a young girl but just look at what she has achieved:
- Pakistan’s National Peace Award
- The Sakharov award for Human Rights
- Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
- Woman of the Year 2013 – Glamor Magazine
- Woman’s Rights Award – Raw and War Magazine
- She also set up the Malala Fund to pay for girls to go to school
As a result of her relentless campaigning, more girls around the world are now able to go to school. They now have opportunities and, through education, can make their lives a success.
Returning to the original question,
Do you value education?
The average cost of one lesson in England is £2500.
Do you get your money’s worth?
Do you take every opportunity in that lesson to make sure that it is money well spent?
It's clear what Malala was prepared to do to because she valued education but what about you?
- If you do not do your homework, you are NOT valuing education
- If you argue with your teacher so that the teacher’s time is taken away from teaching and learning, you are NOT valuing education
- If you are using your phone in lessons or just have to check that text, you are NOT valuing education
- If you disrupt the learning of others, you are NOT valuing education
- If your parents phone you during a lesson or phone the school to constantly question the decisions of your teachers, THEY are NOT valuing education.
We are lucky enough to live in a wonderful country.
The vast majority of people here value equality for all of us and will stand up to and fight inequality wherever it is found.
We value freedom and the right to free speech.
And you are lucky enough to find yourselves in one of the best education systems in the world.
To you, it is free.
So make the most of it. Take every opportunity and value each and every lesson.
You have one chance.
And that chance is now.
Don’t waste it.
To read more about Malala, see her website.