Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - Teenager peace prize winner recovers in military hospital after Taliban shooting

A Pakistani teen who spoke out against the Taliban in an online blog is recovering in hospital after being shot in the head earlier this week.

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 12 October

Teenager peace prize winner recovers in military hospital after Taliban shooting

A Pakistani teen who spoke out against the Taliban in an online blog is recovering in hospital after being shot in the head earlier this week.

Malala Yousafzai underwent surgery to remove a bullet from her head at a Peshawar hospital on Thursday and was moved to a military hospital yesterday.

The 14-year-old was transported from the hospital, in the north-western region of Pakistan, to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology critical care unit in Rawalpindi on doctors’ recommendations. The military hospital, which is close to the country’s capital Islamabad, can provide specialist treatment.

The medical team treating her told the BBC that “neurologically she has significantly improved” but added that the “coming days… are very critical”.

Ms Yousafzai was shot in the neck and head on a packed school bus as she travelled home in Mingora on Tuesday. A man had asked for her by name at her school earlier that day.

Militant group Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the shooting. In a statement sent out from an undisclosed location, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan used Sharia law to defend the attack, but stated that the outlawed outfit do not generally condone attacks on women.

The statement said Ms Yousafzai was targeted for “preaching secularism” and “enlightened moderation”, Pakistan’s English language news site reported. The TTP released a second statement saying Ms Yousafzai would be targeted again, after it had been announced she had survived the attack.

Ms Yousafzai, who hopes to be a doctor, rose to international fame after writing an online diary about the Taliban’s forced closure of private schools in her home town Mingora.

Mingora is in the north-western Swat valley where militant presence was particularly strong when Ms Yousafzai started blogging. In her blog, she said the Taliban ordered more than 400 schools to close because they provided girls with education.

Mr Ehsan accused the media of spreading propaganda against the TPP and denied that they had banned girls’ education in the statement released this week. It said the group were trying to bring education for girls and boys under Sharia law and that the TPP were against co-education. Ms Yousafzai’s father has defended her blog. “Of course, it was a risk”, he told BBC Outlook in January this year.

“But I think that not talking was a greater risk than that because then ultimately we would have given in to the slavery and the subjugation of ruthless terrorism and extremism.” Ms Yousafzai was awarded Pakistan’s National Peace Prize and nominated for an International Children’s Peace Prize last year.

Questions for discussion

For primary:

  • What does “bravery” mean to you?
  • Who do you consider to be brave and why?

For secondary:

  • There have been lots of stories about positive and negative use of the internet in the news recently. Do you think freedom of speech online is important? Explain your answer.
  • What do you think you could do to raise awareness of human rights issues?

Related resources

Speaking out online

  • Explore how social media has been used as a medium for protest with this lesson on the Arab Spring.


  • Who are your students’ heroes? Could Malala Yousafzai be considered a hero? Discuss what “heroic” means with this assembly presentation.

Want or need?

  • Sorting cards from UNICEF UK to help students define basic human rights.

Give more

  • What can students do to help others? Encourage them to be charitable with resources from Give More.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week

A Georgian woman who claimed to be 132 years old – making her the world’s oldest human being – has died.

A choir of un- and under-employed 18-24-year-olds have raised their voices in protest and song outside the Houses of Parliament to raise awareness of youth unemployment.

What came first: the disco dress or the discotheque? This is just one in a series of linguistic questions that editors at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) are asking the public to answer.

Fears have been raised that bilingual pupils will lose out on much needed support in English after scoring highly in the new phonics test – despite historically doing poorly later in primary school.

In the news archive index