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A new school in Texas will be named after Pakistani education activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, the US state’s district system decided after a meeting on Monday.
The naming of Malala Yousafzai Elementary School was decided via the Fort Bend Independent School District’s (FBISD) call for recommendations for the Elementary School 51 in Sugar Land.
Veronica Sopher, the chief communications officer at the FBISD, said: “The district is very excited for this opportunity to name the school after someone so committed to education for everyone.
“Education is a fundamental right for everyone,” Sopher added.
In a statement, the FBISD Superintendent of Schools Dr Charles Dupre called Malala a “true advocate for education”.
“Fort Bend ISD is proud to name Malala Yousafzai Elementary in honour of a true advocate for education,” Dr Dupre added.
“Through her compassion for others and servant leadership, Yousafzai is an embodiment of these characteristics, which we are trying to instil in our students.”
Education ‘wholeheartedly promoted’
Upon receiving the news, he said: “This is such a great and encouraging news, I’m very thankful for this. It’s an opportunity for young students to get inspiration.
“Malala’s name is known globally and now, for a school to be associated with Malala’s name, it just shows that the spirit of education is being wholeheartedly promoted,” he stated.
Malala ‘grateful to the Sugar Land community’
After her father told her about the news, Malala conveyed to Geo.tv that she was “quite glad” and “grateful to the Sugar Land community for helping spread her mission of education for girls”.
“With this decision, they have shown their commitment to the great cause of educating young girls,” Ziauddin said while quoting Malala.
At present, there are some 130 million girls who are not in school, Malala’s father explained, adding that “we need to lower this number”.
“I hope that these students will be given the best-quality education in the new Malala Yousafzai Elementary School.
“I also hope that students and the world can collectively work for this cause — for school-age children unable to afford education to attend school. No child should think they are held back from educational opportunities because of their community, gender or background,” he noted.
The senior Yousafzai underscored that formal education not only allows kids to learn about the world but helps them in “developing critical thinking ability in young men and women”. He also said education for all school children should be made free till at least Grade 12
When asked if they would be attending the Malala Yousafzai Elementary School’s inauguration next year, he laughed and said: “I cannot make any promises right now but should we receive an invitation and are in Texas or nearby, we would definitely love to attend and meet these amazing people.”
‘Over 100 names were submitted’
Earlier, on December 10, an FBISD Board meeting had confirmed that the submissions for name recommendations were open for a month-long period ending October 23, 2018. Prior to that, a committee comprising Dr Joe Rodriguez, Dr Kwabena Mensah, and Board member Dave Rosenthal had met the principal, parents, teachers, and a student and a community representative.
Malala’s name was chosen since she met the prerequisites of having “made a significant contribution to society” and “lend(s) prestige and status to an institution of learning”.
The school district system, in its statement, explained that Malala’s name was selected from “over 100 names that were submitted for consideration”.
The school, which is slated to open in January 2020 in the Aliana neighbourhood and is, at present, being constructed, will be headed by Principal Lisa Langston.

Abdul Gh Lone

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