The youngest Nobel Prize laureate has urged the world community to take up the cause of girls' education around the world and make it a priority.
Malala Yousafzai was interacting at Doha Forum Sunday with Ghida Fakhry, presenter, TRT World and moderator of Doha Debates.
Yousafzai said: “Countries around the world should take up the issue of girls’ education. In Afghanistan, girls are still not allowed to attend classes. The longer it takes, the more difficult for the girls to return to schools.”
“I was hoping that on March 23 girls of class six and above in Afghanistan would pack their bags, wear the uniform and get to their classrooms. I thought they would be reading and writing in their classrooms. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and as Taliban reversed their decision to allow girls to attend the schools. I don’t think that Taliban is able to provide any justification for that and cant understand why those girls can’t be in schools,” Yousafzai said.
“These girls have their dreams, hopes and ambitions. They are the future of Afghanistan as women make up half of the population of the country. When half the population is not allowed education, the country is losing, the society is losing and the world is losing,” she said.
She also congratulated Qatar for promoting and empowering women. “In Qatar we have amazing young women in different roles and different positions. There are women ministers, heads of organisations and those who hold top positions in various organisations and many more,” she said.
According to Yousafzai, 130mn girls are out of school currently. “This is happening in the 21st century. Those girls have dreams and ambitions to bring change in their lives. Education gives them hope for their future. Malala Foundation is working in eight countries and support activists and advocates of education and support organisations that train the teachers,’ she said.
She stressed : “I believe in the power of girls. Our foundation is working for the girls and with the girls. I know that they can be decision makers and I think we should start believing and engaging young people as they have the ideas and expertise to face the challenges of modern times.”
She also said that there are several factors affecting girls’ education. “Lack of finance in education is one factor. When the financing gap continues to widen, it has a huge impact on the infrastructure, facilities and the quality of education. There are social norms that drive the girls away from education.”
The activist also said that digital education is the way forward and there needs to be more investment in it.