THE BLOG
12/05/2014 13:09 BST | Updated 11/07/2014 06:59 BST

What Terrorists Can Teach Us About Education

There is something upon with Boko Haram and I agree.

Boko Haram, the terrorist group which kidnapped hundreds of girls in Nigeria, and I are in complete agreement that education works. Of course we wildly diverge in our beliefs; I believe everyone should have as much education as possible and them believing no one should have it ever. Especially girls.

This is not about that. I'm not going to delve into the national catastrophe of limiting your human capital to 50% of the population, of denying girls the fundamental right to a childhood, of forcefully denying women the right to decide their own fates and have control over their bodies.

Nope - we're not going to talk about any of that!

Rather I'm interested in the glaring obviousness of the reality of the power of education.

These men attacked a school. They could have attacked a barracks to hit the military, they could have chosen a government department and struck a blow against the political system, they could have chosen a place of trade and commerce and damaged the economy.

Instead they chose a school.

Because hitting a country in its educational solar plexus will do more damage for longer. They know, as we do, that education works. Education is empowering. Education makes the status quo a little less quo.

Educating girls is particularly threatening because an educated woman is a powerful force.

According to a Pearson Foundation fact sheet, investing in the education of girls has the overall largest returns on economic development for a developing society. On a personal level it also leads to smaller and healthier families, better protection against HIV and greater economic opportunities for multiple generations.

They get it but sometimes we forget.

This horrific action has shone a light on a fact we sometimes forget - education is the cornerstone of a society. While none of us know how this story is going to play out in Nigeria perhaps we can find a grain of relevance for ourselves.

There are many problems in our world and rarely a single solution. Challenges are complex multi-headed hydras and striking them with a single policy inevitably leads to unintended consequences.

But education, as much as there is anything in our world which might be considered a silver bullet, is it.

True, there are budget restrictions and there are limits to the number of hours teachers have. But, in this age of technology, change is possible at a rate as never before.

When I address young entrepreneurs I speak of necessary creativity; the dynamic creativity which comes from having less money than you would like to solve a problem. With unlimited funds there is a tendency to "throw money" at the problem but when funds are scarce creativity rules.

If we viewed education more creatively, especially in this age of technological abundance, we could raise education standards and give more students the ability to realise their potential and their aspiration. Technology is not just a way of storing information - it should be a way of transmitting knowledge in a very personal and personalised way.

Education; formal and informal, deliberate and accidental, vocational and academic, theoretical and practical, is key to a flourishing and prosperous society. Education gives a country wings but we need to want it as badly as those girls who risked horror for a better tomorrow.