Malala spoke about the threat of the Taliban on a Pakistani talk show, "Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right ... If a Talib is coming, I will pull off my sandal and slap him on the face." These words from a 16 year-old-girl put the hundreds of tardy teenagers who cannot bring themselves to get out of bed for school to shame.
Monday night saw over 200,000 Brazilians in Rio, São Paulo, Brasilia and other smaller cities, rise up and resist the repression they faced last week. Over 200,000 citizens, standing together, willing to take the bullets and make their voices heard. And this time there were no rubber bullets, no tear gas.
My point is, if our schools are to remain more than institutions of academia, if we want them to remain the backbone of our communities and a moral compass as well as an educational one, then we need to open up our schools to the support and involvement of local communities and organizations looking to do just that.
Ideally the comprehensive system should improve itself so that its schools could provide an education equivalent to the private schools. But this is never going to happen. It could happen, as it does in other countries, if there were no strong private school sector. But the comprehensive system is simply not designed to compete in this way and cannot by its nature.