Putting Education First

For far too long, the cause of universal education has taken a back seat to other great international movements for change. Now, for two new reasons, education has returned to its rightful place atop the global policy agenda.

LONDON – For far too long, the cause of universal education has taken a back seat to other great international movements for change. Now, for two new reasons that lie at the heart of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s launch of the “Education First” initiative, education has returned to its rightful place atop the global policy agenda.

First and foremost, young people have themselves become the biggest advocates of universal education for girls and boys. Refusing to remain silent while denied opportunity, young people – particularly girls – have launched one of the great civil-rights struggles of our time.

Few could remain unmoved by the brave fight of the young Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai after the Taliban shot her in the head because she insisted on the right of young girls to an education. Few have failed to notice the massive public outpouring of support in Pakistan and elsewhere for the cause that she is championing.

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