Hundreds of thousands of children and young people, and thousands of their teachers, drop out of regular schooling in Venezuela year after year, and most of those who remain go to the classroom only two or three days a week, highlighting the abysmal backwardness of education in the country.
In the fading light of a November afternoon, 12-year-old Mariya Sareer bends over a textbook, trying to read as much as she can before it gets dark. It's been nearly five months since the seventh grader from Shurat, a village 70 kms south of Srinagar city, last went to school, thanks to a raging political conflict.
Barely 11 years old and in the sixth grade of primary school, this student dreams of becoming a farmer in order to produce food so that the children in his community never have to go hungry. Josué Orlando Torres of the indigenous Lenca people lives in a remote corner of the west of Honduras.
In his parody of the Michael Jackson hit “Beat It”, the American satirist and singer Weird Al Yankovic has a parent urging his son to eat the food on his plate, warning that “other kids are starving in Japan”.
"My child became blind and lost the ability to speak, his dad died and his three brothers are seriously wounded. He still has not been told about the loss of his dad,” says the mother of 7-year-old Mohamad Badran.
“Only two years ago, the soup kitchen was serving 50 meals a day. Today the number has almost doubled and, what is even more worrying, we have started receiving families with children,” says Donatella Turri, director of the Caritas
Diocese of Lucca.
In large parts of rural India, the absence of separate toilets for growing girls is taking a toll on their education. Many are unable to attend school during their menstrual cycle.
Following scattered defiance of the Taliban earlier, a new wave of students is now heading for education in schools and colleges across the troubled north of Pakistan.
Rahmatullah Balal has spent ten years counting the schools that aren’t. The particular kind of Pakistani schools that are called “ghost” schools.
Mukhatar Jama has been teaching at a secondary school in Mogadishu for the past decade. Religious education is part and parcel of the curriculum of all schools in Somalia, but he says most parents are unaware of exactly what their children are being taught – a radical form of Islam.
Somalia is well-known for being a country torn apart by decades of conflict, by hunger and instability. Today, with fragile stability emerging and a new government in place, there is an opportunity to define a new future of peace, prosperity and justice.
“I miss my mother and cry every night,” eight-year-old Afaq Ali tells IPS. He is a Class 5 student at the University Public School in Peshawar, capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the administrative centre for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to its west.
On his first day of fourth grade, Efraín found there were no desks or benches in the classroom in his Mexico City school. His parents had to help the teacher haul in furniture from other rooms so the children wouldn’t have to start the new school year sitting on the floor.
Hazem Maher, 16, from Hebron in the southern West Bank, works a backbreaking 12-hour day in the fruit and vegetable market in the city of El Bireh, next to Ramallah. He earns just over 15 dollars a day as a porter.
As the Czech government comes under fire for apparently backtracking on commitments to inclusive education, Roma children and teenagers continue to be systematically shut out of Eastern Europe’s mainstream education system.
Mounted on a Harley Davidson, Shehzad Roy, a popular Pakistani singer, is on a mission: to expose the country’s 176 million residents to the good, the bad and the ugly side of Pakistan’s education system.
Eight-year-old Muhammad Akram was forced to quit school when he was in the second grade, when the Taliban destroyed the small, government-run school that he and his brother had been attending.