© UNICEF/INDA2014–00549/Vishwanathan

Back to school

Children learning around the world

For many children, going back to school means new teachers and fresh supplies. But for others, it signifies a return to normalcy after the trauma of conflict or disease. Regardless of gender, ethnicity or circumstances, education is every child’s right. Below are 10 photos that show learning is universal.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2015–0827/Bindra

A friend helps Aminata, 13, adjust her shoes on the first day back to school, in Sierra Leone. They joined the 1.8 million children who returned to school in April 2015, after an eight-month hiatus due to the Ebola outbreak.

© UNICEF/UNI194572/El Baba

In Gaza, school helps children recover from the trauma of last summer’s conflict.

“I am starting Grade 1 at school this month. I am so excited! My mother took me to the shop to buy my first backpack,” said Lina, 6.
© UNICEF/NYHQ2015–0348/Grile

Mercy, 9, of Liberia, was orphaned by Ebola but is now in the care of a loving foster family. She went to school for the first time in February 2015, when classes reopened after a six-month closure due to the outbreak.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2015–1513/McIlwaine

Schoolchildren carry banners at a ceremony for the launch of the UNICEF-supported Back to Learning campaign, in Western Equatoria State, South Sudan. Ongoing conflict has strained the country’s already weak education system.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2015–1325/Cherkaoui

Nigerian refugee Aicha, 15, attends class at a temporary learning space in Chad’s Dar es Salam camp.

“Since I came to Dar Es Salam, I am glad to go to school for the first time,” she said.
© UNICEF/GHAA2015–00452/Quarmyne

In Ghana, kindergarten students practice writing numbers in chalk on a table top, in the absence of books, paper or slates. In 2005, the country abolished school fees for basic education, helping many children enrol.

© UNICEF/GHAA2015–01513/Quarmyne

Fatimata stands at the whiteboard at the Tong District Assembly Primary School in Ghana’s Northern Region. There is no classroom for kindergarten students, so she and her peers sit beneath trees in the schoolyard.

© UNICEF/PFPG2014P-0653/Lynch

Usher, 7, was born with a physical disability. He would almost certainly be left out of education if not for his inclusive, child-friendly school in Guinea-Bissau, where he thrives.

© UNICEF/INDA2014–00549/Vishwanathan

Students attend daily classes at the Baruajani Lower Primary School in Kamrup Rural, Assam, India. The number of out-of-school primary-school-aged children in India decreased by more than 14 million from 2000 to 2012.

© UNICEF/INDA2014–00545/Vishwanathan

Students in India take a water, sanitation and hygiene pledge. The children participate in group handwashing with soap before meals — one of the most effective ways to prevent diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia.

Learn more about UNICEF’s work in education.