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By UNICEF Australia
18 January 2023

Education is essential to building better futures for children and young people.

Access to quality education positively impacts children and their families for generations to come. It can mean lifting a child and their family out of poverty or a way for a young person to gain knowledge and the confidence to enter the workplace. For many children, going to school can be the opportunity to receive nutritious food and clean water or for a young girl to break down gender barriers.

Around the world, the classroom is a place to learn, grow and play. Children develop skills they can take into adulthood and make lasting friendships. It’s also a haven during emergencies and in times of conflict, where children are protected from the threat of violence, exploitation and even child marriage.

These photos from around the world prove that the classroom can be life-changing despite the many challenges children face.


A young Ukraine girl is in a classroom in Romania showing another child her artwork.© UNICEF/UN0645387/Moldovan

In Bucharest, Romania, a school hosts more than 230 children who have fled the war in Ukraine. The refugee children are split up across eight different classes, where they attend lessons for three hours a day to continue their education and play with other children in a safe place.

Côte d'Ivoire

Girls in a classroom in Cote d'Ivorie smiling at the camera© UNICEF/UN0616787/Dejongh

Children in Côte d’Ivoire attend class in a school made from recycled plastic bricks. Working alongside their partners, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire is turning plastic waste into construction materials for new schools.


Two Vietnamese boys playing with a robot car during a STEM lesson.© UNICEF/UN0610371/Le Vu

At a primary school in Vietnam, two 11-year-old students play with robots. Learning STEM-based subjects encourages students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills while having fun.


High school students in Burundi participating in the Creatable Project, which focuses on applying STEM to real world problems.© UNICEF Burundi/2022

High school students in Burundi tend to the vertical farm they built as part of the Creatable project. Creatable supports students to gain invaluable future skills and use Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to solve real-world problems, including the increasing impacts of climate change on their communities. Innovative agriculture projects like these respond to the challenges of limited space and access to water for sustainable farming.


High school students in India study for their exams© UNICEF/UN0619109/Baruah

In India, high school students focus on their studies as they sit in their classrooms to participate in lessons.


School students in Cambodia sit in the classroom smiling at the camera.© UNICEF/UN0658417/But

Primary school students read from their workbooks in their classroom in Phnom Penh. During the pandemic, Cambodian school children experienced significant learning loss due to school closures. Now back in the classroom, students are working hard to improve their proficiency in subjects such as the Khmer language and mathematics.

Democratic Republic of Congo

A makeshift classroom built by UNICEF for the children of Congo DRC.© UNICEF/UN0761265/Benekire

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, UNICEF partners have built temporary classrooms to accommodate children displaced by fighting in the east of the country. More than 700 students are now enrolled in the primary school.


A classroom full of young girls in Afghanistan.© UNICEF/UN0626425/Bidel

Primary school-aged girls attend classes in Afghanistan. Yet, on 23 March 2022, the Taliban authorities announced that schools would not reopen for girls in grades 7-12. Across the country, girls were devastated as they were forced to remain home while their brothers and young sisters returned to school.


A young girl from Yemen is learning in a makeshift classroom in a camp for Internally Displaced People © UNICEF/UN0717991/DotNotion

In Yemen, UNICEF is working to rehabilitate and repair schools and classrooms. At the same time, children attend catch-up lessons in a classroom located at a camp for Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP).


High school students in Madagascar study for an exam in a classroom that has no windows or doors.© UNICEF/UN0673549/Andrianantenaina

Students in Bekiria, Madagascar, gather in one of two wooden classrooms as they prepare for their National Secondary School Examinations. The school has 250 students and 20 teachers, including 18 unpaid volunteers. The two classrooms have no doors or windows, and the roof leaks when it rains. 


A classroom full of children in Indonesia© UNICEF/UN0735102/Ijazah

In Indonesia, primary school students are in their classroom. The UNICEF-supported early childhood learning and development program focus on increasing access to quality learning, the availability of clean water, sanitation, and personal hygiene services, as well as essential health and child protection services.


A group of school students in Uganda have their class beneath a mango tree© UNICEF/UN0683382/Mugisha

Students in a Ugandan primary school sit beneath a mango tree for their lesson. Their school is working to construct more classrooms to accommodate all the students attending the school.