One day last fall, a Taliban gunman boarded a school bus carrying Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teen who had spent years advocating for girls' education. He asked for her name, aimed at her head, and fired.
She miraculously survived and slowly recovered, and today, on her 16th birthday, Malala is scheduled to deliver a speech to the UN on the importance of education as a human right, particularly for girls.
But even as Malala delivers her message on the world stage, her cause is losing ground: Almost 50 million children around the world are being denied schooling, and the number of attacks on education is rising, according to a new report from the nonprofit Save the Children.
The group reports that there were more than 3,600 attacks on education in 2012, up from 1,600 the previous year. More than 70 percent of those were in Syria: Since the start of the war there, 3,900 schools have either been destroyed, damaged, or are being occupied for other uses, and 22 percent of the country's schools are now unusable. Other types of attacks on schooling include "killings, disappearances, abductions, forced exile, imprisonment, torture, maiming, rape and sexual violence and the recruitment of child soldiers."