--Vikas Pota is chief executive of the Varkey GEMS Foundation. The opinions expressed are his own.--
from The Human Impact:
When it happened two months ago, it shocked the world. Masked Taliban gunmen stopped a school bus filled with children in northwestern Pakistan, boarded it and shot 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head and neck as she sat in the bus with her friends.
from Reihan Salam:
Barack Obama is a champion of education reform. So is Mitt Romney. Even in the midst of an extremely polarized political season, the former Massachusetts governor has offered praise for Arne Duncan, President Obama’s secretary of education, and for the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative. The same is true of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, who has emerged as the GOP’s leading point person on fixing America’s schools. To those who lament partisan rancor, this might look like very good news. But it’s not. Rather, it is an indication that our conversation about “education reform” is pretty vacuous.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
I have never read "Three Cups of Tea", Greg Mortenson's book about building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I tried to read the sequel, "Stones into Schools" and gave up not too long after the point where he said that, "the solution to every problem ... begins with drinking tea." Having drunk tea in many parts of South Asia - sweet tea, salt tea, butter tea, tea that comes with the impossible-to-remove-with-dignity thick skin of milk tea - I can confidently say that statement does not reflect reality.
from The Great Debate UK:
By Laurence Copeland. The opinions expressed are his own.
I am unsure about Britain’s education system. Most of the time, I think it is a matter of one step forward, two steps back – but then there are times when I wonder about the forward step.
(Photo: Pro-headscarf protest at the education ministry in Baku, December 10, 2010/Turkhan Karimov)
Hundreds of people protested in Azerbaijan on Friday for the right to wear Islamic headscarves in schools, challenging the strictly secular regime. Around 800-1,000 people took part in the demonstration outside the Ministry of Education, far more than Azerbaijan's opposition has mustered in recent years to demand reform in the tightly-controlled former Soviet republic.
The sometimes difficult integration of Muslims is climbing the ladder of public concerns in Europe. It's been hotly debated in Germany and figured in recent elections in the Netherlands and Austria. Now, a French government body called the High Council for Integration (HCI) has drawn up a critical report about the problems faced by -- and posed by -- school pupils with immigrant backgrounds. It's not only about Muslim pupils, but they are mentioned so frequently that it's clear who's mostly involved here.
(Photo: Pope Benedict meets school children in London September 17, 2010/Steve Parsons)
Pope Benedict urged Catholic schoolchildren in London on Friday to strive to become saints and to aim for more than just just money or fame.