Comment: The Malala Building is a brilliant choice

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this is a city steeped in history. On every street corner there is some reminder or another of those that have inspired the present generation and the ones before. There are statues galore of everyone from Adam Smith to Greyfriars Bobby. We have a railway station named after a blockbuster novel and humble streets bearing famous names like Sir Harry Lauder Road and Lawrie Reilly Place. The list of momuments, both great and small, to the heroes of the past is endless.

That living history is something many of us treasure, and can turn any walk through Edinburgh into an impromptu history lesson.

But how many of the people celebrated in stone and on street signs around the Capital will really excite and inspire the next generation?

Some will always strike a chord. The story of Eric Liddell, for instance, will surely find resonance for generations to come.

Many others, such as our pioneering scientists, will continue to raise interest and curiosity. Many though, if we are honest, will bore today’s children rigid.

That is not to say they should not be remembered at all, but if we want to fire the imagination of today’s children a different approach is sometimes needed.

How refreshing, then, to see the way James Gillespie’s High has gone about naming one of the building on its new campus.

Giving the children themselves the chance to choose who to honour has proved an inspiration in itself.

Who better to fire up pupils as they head into school each morning than a teenager who risked her life for the right to be educated?

The Malala Building, named after the schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban for her campaigning for the right of girls to attend school in Afghanistan, is an absolutely brilliant choice.

Maybe we should ask our children to make decisions like this more often.

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