Will These Education Advocates Receive Nobel Prizes?

Will these education advocates receive the same prestige like Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi for risking their lives for equal education?

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The Oasis School in Panjgur, Pakistan. Credit: The author

Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani education advocate, has been awarded the Noble Peace Prize in Oslo.

She, along with her fellow 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi from India, received the award for championing education and children’s rights.

Female education is being threatened in Pakistan and Afghanistan ever since the horrific 9/11 attacks. Since then various militant and terrorist organizations have appeared in these nations but one thing they all have in common is their anti-gender equality attitude when it comes to education as this is perceived as a Western attack on Muslim cultural and religious values.

First private schools in Kech and Panjgur were shut down. The Bombing of a girls’ school in Swat and other restive areas of Pakistan was a common occurrence. A US-educated private school Principal named Zahid Ali Baloch was murdered in Gwadar, and finally violence escalated into the gruesome attack on the army-run school in Peshawar that claimed the lives of 148, most of whom were children.

Pakistan’s Makuran district, once having a low illiteracy rate, has increased its literacy rate by advocating co-ed education. Makuran also established English-language institutes as a source of acceleration to establish private schools. However conservative and militant forces reject this type of open education, namely the religious organization called Tanzeem-ul-Islami-ul-Furqan.

Zahir Hussain, a US-educated instructor, taught English classes at primitive private schools and language centers like The Oasis Academy in the Panjgur district. Today there are almost 30 private schools. Barkat Ali, a US-educated director, founded the Delta Academy in Kech (Turbat), and is known as one of the first successful private schools.

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Zahir Hussain. Credit: The author

Zahid Ali Baloch, targeted earlier in December on his way to school in Gwadar, was also a US-educated private school principal and founder of the Oasis Private School. His education efforts helped build a school in the coastal city of Balochistan.

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Zahid Ali Baloch. Credit: The author

More schools and academies have been founded due to their efforts and thousands of students now have new opportunities. Will these education advocates and instructors who so courageously risked their lives to create a better world for boys and girls ever receive the same prestige and distinction like Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi?

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Aziz Ejaz is a freelance writer, columnist and a poet. He contributes to the Balochistan Point and is subeditor at the Monthly Bolan Voice. Read other articles by Aziz.