Education taken for granted, says Malala

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The Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban, believes British girls take their education for granted.

Malala, now 16, angered the Taliban with her public, outspoken and courageous pleas for girls to be educated. She was shot by a gunman who boarded her school bus in the valley of Swat in northwest Pakistan a year ago.

The bullet went into her left eye socket but missed her brain.

She told BBC Panorama’s Malala: Shot for Going to School programme: “Yes I believe that, and I want to tell the students of UK to think that it is very precious, it’s very prestigious, go to school.

“Reading a book, having a pen in our hands, studying, sitting in a classroom is something very special for us because once we were deprived from it and because what we have seen in Swat”.

In January 2008 the Taliban, who controlled the region, declared that girls would no longer be allowed to go to school.

With her father Ziauddin’s backing, Malala kept an online diary and did interviews with journalists to encourage girls to seek education – but it also made her a target.

She does not remember being shot on October 9 2012 – but her horrified friends recall that the Taliban asked for Malala by name before shooting straight at her head.

The teenager travelled to Britain for treatment but her injuries were so bad her father Ziauddin asked relatives to start arranging her funeral.

Despite being an anti-Taliban activist, he never believed they would target a child. “They flogged adult girls but they never killed children,” he told Panorama. Malala and her family now live in Birmingham and she started at Edgbaston High School for Girls in March 2013.

She has been invited to a reception for Youth, Education and the Commonwealth, being hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, at Buckingham Palace on October 18. It is thought the Queen was impressed by her bravery.