Teachers Under Attack

Malala Fund, October 5, 2014

In her book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by The Taliban, Malala notes that she was most concerned about her father being attacked. School administrators and teachers are often targeted by those who fear education, and especially educated girls.

Today, World Teachers’ Day, we celebrate all the inspiring teachers around the world. At the same time, it’s important we remember the teachers who risk their lives, and in some cases have lost their lives for education.

Just four days ago a teacher was killed in Pakistan and two students injured when attackers threw a grenade in the school. Shahnaz Bibi was killed by attackers last year, as were five other teachers.

This all to commonplace tactic of targeting teachers is happening in Iraq and Syria where teachers are punished for not teaching as instructed by extremists. Boko Haram threatened attacks on teachers in a video message this past July:

Teachers who teach western education? We will kill them! We will kill them in front of their students.

In their report, Protecting Education Personnel from Targeted Attack in Conflict-Affected Countries, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) notes that such attacks are a wartime tactic and happen for various reasons.

Teachers can be targeted for resisting recruitment of children from schools into armed parties, for teaching girls, or for covering particular topics in their lessons and not others

Some teachers are targeted for ethnic and religious reasons as has happened recently in Thailand and Bangladesh. Teachers are also increasingly at risk as schools are targeted during conflict.

Another barrier to education in conflict areas is the military use of schools or universities by armed forces or armed groups as bases, barracks, training grounds, firing positions, armories, and detention centers.

GCPEA is working to change this by asking nations and non-state actors to agree to not use or target schools during conflict

There’s still much work to be done, but together we can end the attack on education and teachers. Are you ready to join the movement that is #StrongerThan fear, violence, poverty and oppression? Show your support for teachers by retweeting the message below.