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Violent Attacks on Education and the Role of NGOs

I remember coming home to the news of the APS attack, killing 132 children and nine teachers on 16 December 2014. These are not just statistics. These were children trying to go to school and teachers who were doing their job; imparting education. According to the Global Terrorism Index, were 867 violent attacks on educational institutions in Pakistan in 2015 alone. Moreover, TTP and Al-Qaeda recruit children from local schools and madrassahs.

The documentary, ‘Among the believers,’ on Netflix is an interesting watch. It shows the radicalization process that these organizations use to separate the children from the outside influences. It shows the accounts of two children: one who detaches from his family and becomes a Jihadi preacher and the other who escapes Madrassa to join a regular school. Studies from the International Crisis Group hold the lack of quality in mainstream education liable for children’s vulnerability to such recruitment.

When the government fails to provide the necessary support, the role of NGOs becomes pivotal to restore and improve education services in the region. NGOs offer educational services in these conflict zones. While some literature may debate the learning outcomes of educational services provided in the conflict regions, such opportunities help the displaced teenagers ‘hope and cope’. Engaging in recreational activities can help them recover from trauma while they learn collaboration and conflict resolution through these activities. The educational services provided by NGOs help expose essential issues to the community as they incorporate topics like human rights, girl child education, hygiene, and peace.

Although the role of NGOs is significant for the rehabilitation of affected children, there is a need to integrate and institutionalise these services into the national system; thus improving the sustainability of such programs. The government needs to provide proper attention and strong support to such organizations by limiting the constraints for humanitarian agencies.

You may also like to check out:

Among the believers (It used to be on Netflix but they removed it, you might have to look it up further)

Ahsan, N., 2013. Schools vs. Militants: An Overview of the Situation in KPK and FATA. Conflict Monitoring Center. Available at:

Ali, A., 2012. ‘Education – FATA’s Crying Need’. FATA Research Centre, Islamabad. Available at:

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), 1999. ‘Implementation of the

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’. United Nations, New York.

Naqvi, A.A., Z.K. Shah and A. Zainab, 2012. ‘The Impact of Militancy on Education in FATA’. TIGAH, A Journal for Peace and Development 2, 22–40.

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