This chapter, Education First, includes the speech delivered by Malala at the United Nations Youth Assembly on 12 July 2013.
First of all, she thanks everyone who prayed for her fast recovery and sent her thousands of good wish cards and gifts from all over the world. She thanks all the children whose innocent words encouraged her and all the elders whose prayers strengthened her. She also thanks her nurses, doctors, and staff of the hospitals in Pakistan, and the UK and UAE governments who helped her get better and recover her strength. Then, she goes on to say that she fully supports Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the then Secretary-General of the UN, in his Global Education First Initiative.
There are hundreds of human rights activists and social workers struggling to achieve their goals of education, peace, and equality for everyone. She speaks not only for herself but for all boys and girls.
The Talib shot her on the left side of her forehead on the 9th of October 2012. Yet, now when she speaks, she doesn’t speak in terms of personal revenge or hatred for anyone. She’s there to speak up for the right of education of every child.
She says that even if there were a gun in her hand and the Talib who shot her stood right in front of her, she wouldn’t shoot him. “This is the compassion I have learned from Muhammad-the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha,” she says. That is the legacy of change she has learned from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. That’s the philosophy of non-violence she’s learned from Gandhi Jee, Bacha Khan, and Mother Teresa. That is the forgiveness she has learned from her mother and father.
Then, she stresses the importance of education. The Taliban is afraid of education and women, that’s why they attack and kill so many innocent students and female teachers and workers. Peace is necessary for education.
She calls upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favor of peace and prosperity. She calls upon the governments to protect the rights of women and that of children. Free education should be ensured for every child all over the world. The governments should fight against terrorism and violence.
She urges to wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism. Education is the only solution, pens and books are the most powerful weapons. Education first.
Ways with words
A. Find the words from the text which mean the following.
a. A messenger or representative, especially one on a diplomatic mission
b. The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect
c. Harm done to someone in response to harm
d. A person who holds extreme views in political or religious matters
e. Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others
f. A person who is believed to speak for God
g. The study of the nature of knowledge, reality, and existence
h. The use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy
i. An unreasonable dislike of a particular group of people or things
B. Match the words on the left with their opposite meanings on the right.
C. Using dictonary
a. Study the dictonary entry above and answer these questions.
i. What is the headword in the first entry?
→ The headword in the first entry is Humanity.
ii. How many meanings of the word ‘humanity’ are given?
→ Four meanings of the word ‘humanity are given.
iii. What do the abbreviations U, OPP, pl, and sth stand for?
→ U, OPP, pl, and sth stand for uncountable, opposite, plural, and something respectively.
iv. What is the British English spelling of ‘humanize’?
→ The British English spelling of ‘humanize’ is ‘humanise’.
v. How is the word ‘humanize’ pronounced?
→ The word ‘humanize’ is pronounced as /ˈhjuːmənʌɪz/.
vi. If we say “every person should have the sense of humanity”, which meaning of ‘humanity’ is applied?
→ If we say “every person should have the sense of humanity”, the quality of being kind to people and animals by making sure that they do not suffer more than is necessary is the meaning of ‘humanity’ that is applied.
b. Arrange the following words in alphabetical order.
i. advance, analysis, amuse, assure, allergy, attain, aid, anxiety, acute, agreement
→ acute, advance, agreement, aid, allergy, amuse, analysis, anxiety, assure, attain
ii. smoke, small, smart, speaking, smelling, smoothly, smuggler, smashed, smearing, smallpox
→ small, smallpox, smart, smashed, speaking, smearing, smelling, smoke, smoothly, smuggler
iii. terminal, terminate, terminology, termite, terms, terrace, terrible, terrible, terribly
→ terminal, terminate, terminology, terms, terrace, terrible, territory, terror
Answer the following questions.
a. Why did the speaker receive thousands of good-wishes cards and gifts from all over the world?
→ The speaker was shot by the Taliban on the left side of her forehead and was hospitalized for her treatment and recovery. So the speaker received thousands of good-wishes cards and gifts from all over the world.
b. According to the speaker, what are hundreds of human rights activists and social workers struggling for?
→ According to the speaker, hundreds of human activists and social workers are struggling for achieving their goals of education, peace, and equality.
c. What has she learned from Gandhi?
→ She has learned the value of non-violence from Gandhi.
d. In what sense is peace necessary for education?
→ Peace is very necessary for qualitative education. Children can obtain fruitful education only if there is a peaceful environment. If not then the children are afraid to go to school and furthermore they cannot focus on their studies. Hence peace is very necessary for education.
e. According to the speaker, what are the main problems faced by both men and women?
→ According to the speaker, poverty,ignorance, injustice, racism, and deprivation of basic rights are the main problems faced by both men and women.
f. What is Malala calling upon all governments?
→ Malala is calling upon all governments to ensure free education for all children all over the world, to fight against terrorism and violence, and to protect them from brutality and harm.
g. What is the main message of this speech?
→ The main message of this speech is that education is such a weapon that can eradicate the problems like illiteracy, terrorism, violence, and harassment of fundamental rights of humans. So, providing education to every child in this world should be the first priority of all governments.
a. All children have the right to quality education. How can we ensure this right to every child? Discuss the role of the government and the parents to make sure that every child can attend school.
→ Over the period of time, education has shifted from being only a secondary need for survival to now being a primary one. Quality education can enhance not only the living standard but also the lives of individuals as a whole.
Ensuring this right to every child should be the primary concern of both the parents and the government. The public/community schools should be revamped; it should be more effective in providing quality education to the students.
Also, the parents should try their best to provide quality education to children, regardless of their gender. Good schooling, in the long run, helps not only their children but also those parents are satisfied and fulfilled.
b. Do you think that there is still discrimination between sons and daughters in terms of providing education in our country? What strategies do you suggest to overcome such discrimination against girls?
→ After spending more than a decade and a half, and my entire life, moving from place to place, being an active member of my society, I think “Yes! There still is discrimination between sons and daughters in terms of providing education in our country.”
Girls (or women in general) have been treated inferiorly throughout the history of time. First, they were kept only at home for domestic chores, and now they (or at least many) are deprived of a very integral right, a basic need: The right to quality education.
In order to overcome this gap of opportunity for girls, not only should strict laws and policies be made, but also they should be actively administered for effective implementation. In case of insubordination, the guilty should be taken under custody.
There surely is a long way to go for equality between the genders of children, but with time and constant active effort, all needs and goals are achievable.
c. A Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “If your plan is for one year, plant rice; if your plan is for ten years, plant trees; if your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.” What is the meaning of this saying? Elaborate this with examples.
→ Confucious was a man filled not only with wisdom but also vision. He knew that in the near future, after his time, children would be the most valuable individuals to build and enrich the world with development and advancement.
By the above saying, Confucious has stressed the value and importance of educating children. To take for an example, if we turn the pages of history, the most influential people have been the ones that were educated.
Thus, educating the children is the most immediate requirement of the present and the future.
a. Recall your school days. Write in three paragraphs of an event that you always remember.
Perhaps I was wrong
Ms. Rai had always been a mystery to me. I had only recently graduated secondary school, and she was my new class teacher; I was worried.
Until now, I had only heard tales of how fearful and strict of a teacher she was. My seniors had suggested I not remain in her section; to change it if possible. So I tried. I talked to all the school management members, faking my reasons for why I needed to change it. After my conversation with the management, I came back to my class and continued my lessons.
After a while, Miss Rai entered the class and called me out; I knew I was in trouble. She took me outside the class and asked me gently if I wanted to change my section; “Yes!” I said. After about 10 minutes of conversation, she convinced me to try staying in her class for a week. And later, was I wrong about my initial decision? Perhaps.
I spent a year in her class, became her class representative, and scored the highest score in her subject. Ms. Rai and I built an extraordinary connection; we had a relationship outside of the classroom and school. I then completed my SEE, and she flew to Dubai. Regardless, she still is the best teacher I’ve ever had: my kindest mentor.
But now, when I look back at those times when I was in 8th grade if I had been stubborn with what I initially thought, maybe I would’ve never learned the lessons I learned or experienced the things I did because of her. Taking decisions or making impressions of someone long before we truly understand them is a mistake we all make at some point in time.
If I could go back in time and change the things I did, or at least pause myself in assuming before I truly understood them, I definitely would. Because who knows, I might find my ‘Ms. Rai’ again.
b. “Education empowers a person”. Elaborate on this statement giving examples of your personal experience.
Education Empowers A Person
My father owned a small Nokia phone for most of his life. When he had to send any amount of money to my brother who was then studying in the capital, he’d take his cycle and pedal it for about an hour to reach a nearby village where banks were present. After my brother completed high school, he gifted his father an android device.
After a few days, we taught papa how to send money online; he was amazed. He wondered if he had only known that before, he’d have saved so much time. Now, he could. He no longer had to go so far to transact any amount, it was all in his hands and in control of his fingertips.
Education can do wonders if it is made accessible to every individual. It can become a new limb for a handicapped. Education truly does empower a person.
B. Classify the underlined words into different word classes.
a. The man who is wearing glasses is my uncle’s friend.
→ who: pronoun
b. I brought a round table in the supermarket.
→ round: adjective
c. Alas, she is dead.
→ Alas: interjection
d. Hari works very hard all the time but his wife is very lazy.
→ hard: adverb
e. I have never been to Japan.
→ never: adverb
Feel free to drop a comment down below if you get any confusion. In the mean time, you can read these articles.
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