Malala Yousafzai: World leaders are choosing bombs and bullets over books for its children

The blogger and campaigner is challenging leaders for providing only the most basic education to many girls globally

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Malala Yousafzai was just a child when she survived being shot in the head by the Taliban as she walked to school.

The blogger, campaigner and activist was attacked in north-west Pakistan for nothing more than calling for girls to have the right to an education that so many were deprived of under Taliban rule.

A week before her 18th birthday and after finishing another year of school, the world’s youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is now calling on world leaders to choose “books over bullets” by providing 12 years of free education to every girl.

In an essay published by The Telegraph ahead of a speech she is due to give to leaders in Oslo, Malala criticised the number of girls who are only given access to the most basic education.

Malala Yousafzai was attacked by gunmen in Mingora, Pakistan on October 9, 2012

"The Education For All Global Monitoring Report found it would take $39 billion annually [to educate children for 12 years]. It seems like a big number, an impossible number. In reality, it represents what world governments spend on their militaries in just eight days.

"That is a choice. Our leaders are choosing bombs and bullets over books and bright futures. And we are letting them.

“I want world leaders to choose books over bullets. It may look as if I am naive. I'm still a teenager. But I measure the world in hope, not doubt. We can afford to give every girl 12 years of free education. It is absolutely in our power, and when we do, we will realise a whole new world of possibility.”

'Thank you to my father for not clipping my wings and for letting me fly' - Malala shows her medal during the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony in Oslo last year

She highlighted the “brave” attempts at providing education for all in 2000 with the Millennium Development Goals, but condemned the lack of girls who were kept in education past primary school levels.

“The world has not even bothered counting how many complete upper secondary, grades 10, 11 and 12 in many countries.

“To a generation of girls the world told them that a basic education was all they deserved. That is unacceptable. If world leaders want 12 years of quality education for their own children, it is also time to ensure it for the rest of the world's children."