“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz better known as Malcolm X, a self-professed Muslim and a human rights activist uttered these words at the height of civil rights activism in America. He and many others knew that the best way to empower a community of minorities is through education.
Al Shabaab has carried out attacks against educational institutions resulting in the deaths of over 150 Kenyans. Most of the victims were students at Garissa University, where the armed group perpetrated one of the most savage attacks on higher education. Media reports showed that, in early 2013, there was a series of attacks by al-Shabaab along the Kenya-Somalia border in Garissa county, which included the killing of at least one teacher. Because of the widespread targeting of teachers, the Kenya National Union of Teachers asked teachers in approximately 20 schools to leave the area until the government guaranteed their safety. This of course jeopardised the progress of learning for many around the North Eastern area.
Education can be a tool to protect human dignity, close gaps in knowledge and power, increase civic and political participation, and build tolerance so all people can live their values free from oppression. “Knowledge is Power” so goes the saying and it is indeed true as education is a critical component of addressing a variety of injustices, ranging from environmental degradation to poverty to the disenfranchisement of young people.
It goes without saying these attacks on educational institutions only mean the terrorist organisation has an agenda to blind and enslave the people in ignorance. Leaving them in despair with no hope of ever rising above their situation.