This is a message from Education International of which NEA is a member.
With many of you about to begin the holidays, reflect on the year that has been and prepare for the one ahead, Education International has one last request for 2014; a request that looks to make 2015 a more positive year for so many around the world.
This has been a difficult week. We have all had to bear witness to the despicable acts of violence that took place in Peshawar, Pakistan where 132 children and nine of their teachers were massacred by the Taliban in their school.
The families of those innocent lives are now left to grieve losses that no one should ever endure. Why did they die? Well, the answer should disturb us all: because the simple pursuit of an education, something that the majority of us take for granted, was seen as a threat to the power of others, and that pursuit led to their deaths.
Sadly, these latest events were not unique for 2014. This, unfortunately, has been a year filled with tragedy, and education was a primary target.
In April, the nightmare of every parent became a reality in Nigeria when 192 girls were kidnapped by the extremist group Boko Haram, again, for going to school. Despite global efforts to see the girls returned to their families, the majority of them remain missing.
September saw the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico. The details of their fate are still unknown, but what is clear is that the attempts of the 43 students of education to speak out against the discriminatory hiring practices of the government were answered not with dialogue, but violence. And now Pakistan.
The sad reality is that there are still 58 million children out of school around the world. And for many of those, such as the children and their teachers in Pakistan, Mexico, Nigeria and countless other nations, even the opportunity to learn is met with great risk.
But, in the spirit of this holiday season, those of us who have the freedom to learn, to teach and dream, no matter our race, gender, or creed, have the chance to make a difference.
That is why a global petition, led by Avaaz, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, and joined by Education International and “A World At School,” is a simple, but powerful tool to stand up to the violence in Peshawar. Already with nearly a million signatures, the petition will be delivered to the Prime minister of Pakistan to send a clear message: this violence must stop.
All of us at Education International ask you to take a moment to help make 2015 a safer year for education. Sign the petition and make a difference.
Media & Communications Coordinator