Will Malala Attend My Uni (Across Her High School)?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/28/2014 01:30:00 AM
Edgbaston High School for Girls is literally a stone's throw away.
I obtained my doctorate in Political Science way back in 2008 at the University of Birmingham, in the UK's second largest city by population. A year before that, I began writing this blog which still survives (and thrives!) somehow. Despite three or four changes of academic affiliation since, the blog lives. However I am not exactly the most famous person associated with Birmingham, writing a blog in a somewhat obscure academic discipline. After being shot by crazed Taliban assassins in Pakistan while on board a school bus, Malala Yousafzai became a heroine to women being persecuted for desiring an education. A few days ago, she became the youngest Nobel laureate for winning the Peace Prize at age 17. It's a feelgood story Westerners like.

Going home being deemed to dangerous, Malala has since resettled in Birmingham, UK. I was of course aware of this, but what I was not aware of was how Malala is attending secondary school near the campus of the University of Birmingham at Edgbaston High School.
Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban after campaigning for girls' rights to education, has attended her first day at school in the UK. The 15-year-old was shot on a school bus in Pakistan in October. She has now recovered following treatment at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

She described starting at the city's Edgbaston High School for Girls as "the most important day" of her life. She said: "I think it is the happiest moment that I'm going back to school, this is what I dreamed, that all children should be able to go to school because it is their basic right. "I am so proud to wear the uniform because it proves I am a student and that I am living my life and learning." Malala is in year nine and will start her GCSE curriculum next year. She said she was looking forward to learning about politics and law. 
Those of you who've been to Brum (our affectionate nickname for the town) know that Edgbaston is the more upscale, tonier part of the rather expansive University of Birmingham campus. The other part, Selly Oak, is the more--how do I put this--proletarian part of town. It is also where I stayed in student residence. One of the more curious memories I have about its location is that a fellow student from Pakistan also staying at Jarratt Hall was concerned about the security situation there [!] But hey, don't feel too sorry for us; another resident loved it so much that he's titled his latest trance album after our beloved student residence.

At any rate, the University of Birmingham was named "University of the Year" in 2013-2014. It's been trying to drum up attention in recent years and increase its academic rankings in the process--we're one of the world's top 100 universities in most surveys. Malala should consider that our rankings for the disciplines she's interested in are not too shabby, either: Brum ranks 13th in Political Science and 17th in Law.

Certainly, there's a hard-nosed persistence bred through living in a city lacking glamor--think of it as the Houston of the UK and you wouldn't be far off the mark. Yet, we thrive. It would also complete the circle for Malala: she received treatment for her injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on campus grounds and attends high school across the grounds of the aforementioned university. The only thing left for her is to study law or political science at the University of Birmingham ;-)