UN chief calls for girls' education
Ban Ki-moon stresses commitment to Pakistani students
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, left, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Islamabad (AFP photo/Aamir Qureshi)
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday reiterated his commitment to promote global education, especially for girls.
“I want all children and young people to have equal learning opportunities. This is why I launched my Global Education First Initiative last year,” Ban Ki-moon told a gathering at Islamabad College for Girls during his two-day visit to Pakistan.
“The right to education should not be for some but for all girls and boys in Pakistan. The goal of the United Nations is to provide better schooling and quality education to the children across the globe,” the UN secretary general said.
“You and I have the same passion for education. I grew up in Korea just after the [Korean] war. Like many young people in Pakistan, we had to struggle for our education. Our schools had been destroyed. We had no classrooms and hardly any supplies,” he said.
More than 700 schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have been either destroyed or damaged by Taliban militants since 2007, according to figures released by Provincial Elementary and Secondary Education Department.
Ban also spoke about Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani education campaigner shot in the head by the Taliban last year in Swat Valley while on her way home from school.
“She is a famous student, but I said she is also a teacher. You are also not just students, but teachers,” Ban said.
“Be both students and teachers. Put education first. And be a global citizen,” he said.
Earlier, he opened the Center for International Peace and Stability at the National University of Science and Technology in Islamabad and lauded Pakistan’s contribution to peacekeeping missions across the globe.
“More than 100 countries contribute troops and police for United Nations peacekeeping missions. Pakistan is number one,” he said.
“Today, more than 8,000 of Pakistan’s soldiers, including men and women, are serving in conflict zones. Nearly one out of 10 UN peacekeepers around the world hail from Pakistan.”
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