Back to school, the world over


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AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt, Noah Seelam, Saeed Khan, Tony Karumba





By Sylvain Estibal


It’s a daily routine for millions of kids around the world: Grab your books, head off to school and sit in a classroom to study.

With it being back-to-school season in many countries, AFP asked some of its global network of photographers to capture images of school life. The results illustrate some of the similarities -- and striking differences -- of school life for young students in different countries.

We gave photographers some basic rules and asked them to stick to four themes. The first you see here is about the journey to school. We asked photographers to photograph children, preferably in profile, with a background typical to that child’s country.

Then we asked for photos from inside the classroom, pictures of kids doing their homework and, finally, photos of school satchels and their contents.

You can see the entire series here on ImageForum.


Off to school


AFP Photo / Tony Karumba

AFP Photo / Tony Karumba

With his schoolbag slung over his shoulder, Kelvin Leadismo, 12, herds a cow across a field in Samburu county, northern Kenya, before heading to nearby school where he is taking classes specially designed for young shepherds.

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AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini

Another schoolboy heads to classes as a cow looks on, this time in Moudon, in the west of Switzerland.

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AFP Photo / Jim Watson

In the US, the trip to school is often on the country’s famous yellow buses. Here’s one in Centreville in Maryland on the East Coast.


The school bag


Our series of images shows how different life can be for schoolkids in different countries. However, something that often seemed to be pretty similar were school bags and their contents. The two photos below show bags and their cargo in Tenerife, Spain, and in Japan. The third bag is rather different, belonging to the young shepherd Kelvin Leadismo, who is also pictured above in a field with a cow.


AFP Photo / Desiree Martin

AFP Photo / Desiree Martin

AFP Photo / Yoshikazu Tsuno

AFP Photo / Yoshikazu Tsuno

AFP Photo / Tony Karumba

AFP Photo / Tony Karumba


The classroom


AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt

AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt HERE

Trainee monk Tandi Dorji (left), age six, and his classmates studying holy scripts in a Buddhist monastery in Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan. He is the youngest of some 200 students in the monastery. Classes include meditation, chanting, religious calligraphy and religious rites. All students must learn by heart a large number of sacred texts; they spend a large part of their time reciting these in a loud voice to try to help with the memorisation.

AFP Photo / Noah Seelam

AFP Photo / Noah Seelam

Young girls learn the Koran, at the Madrasatur-Rashaad Islamic school in Hyderabad, India.

AFP Photo /Jose Cabezas

AFP Photo /Jose Cabezas

Ten-year-old Silvia Alvarado works in a classroom in the village of Metalio, El Savador

AFP Photo / Sakis Mitrolidis

AFP Photo / Sakis Mitrolidis

Eight-year-old Kiriaki Tentoglou sits in her small classroom in the village of Feli, in northern Greece. Pictures of famous historical figures adorn the walls.

AFP Photo / Tony Karumba

AFP Photo / Tony Karumba

Here’s Kelvin again, at his primary school in Loltulelei, where he’s taking classes specially adapted for young shepherds. Classes last two to three hours a day and are given by volunteer teachers. Without this system, many children who help their parents out with farm work would be illiterate.

Homework


AFP Photo / Jung Yeon-Je

AFP Photo / Jung Yeon-Je

Nine-year-old Lim Jee-Woo practices the recorder at home in Goyang, on the outskirts of Seoul in South Korea.

AFP Photo / Noel Celis

AFP Photo / Noel Celis

Eight-year-old Genesis Tuazon at her home in Malabon City in Manila, the Philippines.

AFP Photo / Tony Karumba

AFP Photo / Tony Karumba

Kelvin does his homework by firelight in his family’s manyatta, a traditional home made partly of cow dung.

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Sylvain Estibal is the managing photo editor for AFP's Europe and Africa region.