Tuesday’s murderous assault on a school at Peshawar in Pakistan by Muslim fanatics that cost the lives of 132 children and 9 staff has caused revulsion across the world, but between 2009 and 2013, there were nearly 10,000 attacks on schools in 70 countries.
Diya Nijhowne, director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, says murders and abductions of pupils and staff and the destruction of school buildings are seen by terrorists and criminal gangs as very effective ways of intimidating and undermining communities, and preventing them from becoming more prosperous.
Muslim fanatics, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, are often particularly resentful if girls are educated. The group kidnapped hundreds of female pupils in April. While in Pakistan, girls often have to be taught in secret by teachers who are risking their lives, to avoid the murderous attentions of the Taliban.
The deadliest ever terrorist attack on a school happened at Beslan in southern Russia in 2004, when Chechen terrorists massacred 334 people, including 186 children. For the full story, see A Disastrous History of the World.