A United Nations ‘Day of Action’ is underway in Pakistan and around the world, aimed at getting school places for some 32 million girls.
The day is labelled ‘Malala Day’ in honour of 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani education campaigner who was shot and injured by the Taliban last month.
Families of three million of Pakistan’s poorest children are to receive cash incentives of $2 a month if they ensure girl children attend classes regularly.
The ‘Waseela-e-Taleem’ program is funded by the World Bank and the British Government and is being overseen by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and special UN envoy for global education – and former British Prime Minister – Gordon Brown.
“Malala’s dreams represent what is best about Pakistan,” said Mr Brown.
Malala is recovering at a hospital in Birmingham after she and two others were injured when their school van came under fire on October 09.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people around the world have signed an online petition calling for Malala to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The UK government has also been urged to back the campaign, with advocates saying she represents those denied an education.
The global petition to have Malala nominated, on Change.org, was started in Canada by Tarek Fatah, a writer and broadcaster.
Malala’s nomination has won the backing of Canada’s four largest political parties and has been supported in other countries including France and Spain.
Nobel committee rules states that members of national assemblies and governments are able to make nominations for the prize. Nominations close in February.