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`A tool in the hands of Western powers'?

Some private schools in Pakistan have banned the book written by teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, claiming that the young campaigner has come to represent the West. Malala, 16, became a worldwide sensation for her bravery after she was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for girls' rights to education. She released a book last month, titled I am Malala, but it has been banned from thousands of schools in her home country, with the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation stating that she had become a "tool in the hands of Western powers".

Rich kids thrice as likely to go to top universities

Children from affluent families are more than three times more likely to attend a top university than their working-class peers, a new study shows. The research by Dr John Jerrim, of the University of London's Institute of Education, shows that children in England whose parents are professionals are 3.2 times more likely to attend Russell Group universities. The findings are mirrored by similar proportions of students going on to the most selective public universities in the US and Australia. At elite private US universities, such as Yale and Harvard, the gap is even larger than in England: children with "professional" parents are six times more likely to attend than those from working-class families.

Bringing in the bailiffs to recover fees from parents

A growing number of South Africa's top independent schools are being forced to call in debt collectors to recover unpaid school fees from parents struggling to make payments. School fees for some of the country's elite private schools are rising by around 8 per cent because of increasing teacher salaries and high utility bills, such as electricity and water. It has led to a number of schools being forced to call in the bailiffs to collect unpaid fees, according to John Lobban, director for operations at the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa.

Philadelphia blues as school buildings go on sale

One of the most cash-strapped school districts in the US has put more than two dozen school buildings up for sale in an attempt to raise much-needed funds. Philadelphia, which closed 24 schools over the summer because of budget cuts, has published details on its website of 27 school buildings and the accompanying land that it has placed on the property market. One developer has already offered $100 million (pound;63 million) for the entire portfolio, but city officials are hoping to attract more bidders as they desperately try to fill a $304 million budget deficit.

Teachers on strike in Lebanon

Private school teachers in Lebanon will stage a nationwide walkout next week in an attempt to secure a pay rise. Government ministers are currently reviewing the teachers' salary scale, which could result in an increase to their pay packets. But the review has hit delays, prompting the Association of Private School Teachers, which held a general assembly in Beirut this week, to declare a national strike.

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