A boy reads in his ruined classroom

Teachers and children are continuing to go to school in Aleppo, despite its being the scene of some of the most violent bombardments in Syria. Some schools have moved into basements surrounded by tall buildings in an effort to protect them from the bombing. Many school buildings have been destroyed and of course there is very little money for resources or for infrastructure.

Many parents won't let their children go to school however because they fear they will not be safe there. A 2015 report by the NGO UNICEF says that at least 32 schools have been attacked. More recently Russian planes have reportedly bombed schools as well as hospitals. Moreover many schools are being used by armed groups or the Syrian army as bases.

Two million Syrian children are refugees in neighbouring countries, whose school systems are creaking under the effort to educate them. UN envoy for education Gordon Brown sees a two shift system as a useful answer to the problem. What he does not mention however is that the majority of teachers working the second shift have also worked in the morning, they are on temporary contracts and many of them have yet to be paid for the extra work. And many have not been given any training for the specific needs of traumatised refugees. One teacher, Rida said that, while she loves the children, she is beyond exhaustion: "The thing that I hate most . . . is that I am always nervous,  tired and sick. I cannot tolerate anyone and I start crying.'

Meanwhile, In the camps, refugee teachers are setting up makeshift schools to try to offer some hope to the children around them.

In many countries of the world, teachers and childen are risking their lives in order to carry on with the vital work of education. Nowehere is the situation more sharp than in Syria and neighbouring countries. One ten year old is quoted in the UNICEF report: 'We ran downstairs and we heard the explosion. We knew it had hit the school again because the explosion was very close. It was the second time the school had been hit in a month. I believe that I will never be able to go school again after this. I feel very bad because if I cannot finish school then I will not be able to go to university to become a doctor.'