From ancient monasteries to futuristic libraries, these photos show the different ways kids learn around the world

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Bangladesh. Azim Khan Ronnie/Agora Images
  • Agora, a free photography app, recently held the #Education2019 contest to award some of the most beautiful photos taken this year that depict learning in some form.
  • More than 19,513 images were submitted by photographers around the world.
  • The top 50 photos from this year’s contest showcase outdoor classrooms, stunning monasteries, and solitary readers.
  • The winner will receive $US1,000, and will be announced in November.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Yellow school buses are uniquely American – in fact, not everywhere do kids take buses to school at all. Turns out, many of the things we take for granted at places of learning, like a roof over our heads and electricity, aren’t the norm everywhere.

Agora, a free photography app, put a call out for photos that depict what learning and education looks like around the world.

Photographers from all over submitted their work as part of the #Education2019 contest, and 50 finalists were chosen by users.

From outdoor learning groups to solitary readers, here’s a look at this year’s finalists.


“Learning musical instruments” by Dedy Dhamiyanto

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Indonesia. Dedy Dhamiyanto/Agora Images

“This grandfather teaches the next generation how to play an instrument, while simultaneously teaching them about cultural heritage.”


“The old educating the young” by John Harris Nadeak

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Indonesia. John Harris Nadeak/Agora Images

“A senior painter is photographed here teaching a junior how to paint umbrellas.”


“Reading” by Kyaw Myint Than

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Myanmar. Kyaw Myint Than/Agora Images

“A young student comfortably sitting on a large golden structure, reading quietly.”


“Teach” by Phyo Moe

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Myanmar. Phyo Moe/Agora Images

“A typical lecture in Myanmar. The education system has always been at a bare minimum, but is now starting to improve.”


“Reading Buddhist Text” by Saw Fabian

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Myanmar. Saw Fabian/Agora Images

“As the temperatures rise in Bagan, some monks come under the shade of the temples to study, read, relax, and pray.”


“Student” by Myo Thet

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Myanmar. Myo Thet/Agora Images

“While other children choose to play games, these two decide to read a book together.”


“Reciting the Holy Quran” by Azim Khan Ronnie

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Bangladesh. Azim Khan Ronnie/Agora Images

“Every child in the Madrasah education institute are orphans. With the help of many people in the community, they are given the opportunity to study.”


“Mirrored Library” by Patricia Soon Mei Yung

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Malaysia. Patricia Soon Mei Yung/Agora Images

“This futuristic bookshop creates a unique and immersive environment for reading.”


“School students” by Sujit Saha

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India. Sujit Saha/Agora Images

“It was not difficult for Saha to get these boys to smile for the photo. Their love for school translates through the camera lens.”


“Lecture time” by Ye Kyaw Thu

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Myanmar. Ye Kyaw Thu/Agora Images

“A group of students being taught a lesson in a park in Myanmar.”


“Libraries Aren’t Dead” by Jovanne Amolat

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Singapore. Jovanne Amolat/Agora Images

“Amolat communicates through this image that in this age of modern technology and mobile phones, libraries aren’t dead. They are still lively and a great place to learn.”


“Nature school” by Pepi Perdiansyah

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Indonesia. Pepi Perdiansyah/Agora Images

“Each day, on his way home from school, the child in the photograph pauses on the rocks. He repeats the lessons he learns in school while enjoying nature.”


“In between” by Robert Marrel Dela Vega

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Philippines. Robert Marrel Dela Vega/Agora Images

“A little boy reading and writing in his journal before he goes to sleep.”


“Light of knowledge” by Pranab Basak

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India. Pranab Basak/Agora Images

“Children surrounding a luminous globe as it lights up their smiling faces. The globe evokes learning about the planet and the environment, and makes a subtle reference to global warming.”


“School in Tanzania” by Ruth Hundeshagen

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Tanzania. Ruth Hundeshagen/Agora Images

“The bright colours of the school uniforms and girl’s feet freely swinging under the table drew Hundeshagen to capture this photo.”


“Under the rain” by Adeel Chishti

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Pakistan. Adeel Chishti/Agora Images

“A child’s purity is captured here, when this boy was spotted roaming in the rain. His sparkling face and joyful gesture is what drew Chisti to take his picture.”


“Three of them learn” by Asad Khalid Sungkar

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Indonesia. Asad Khalid Sungkar/Agora Images

“These children were photographed finishing their homework on the street, as it was due in the nick of time.”


“Novice” by Kyimyothet

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Myanmar. kyimyothet/Agora Images

“One student teaching his peer a lesson from school.”


“Reading book” by Sahlan Kokasinta

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Indonesia. Sahlan Kokasinta/Agora Images

“Two boys sharing their passion for reading together.”


“Sharing” by Sithu Kyaw

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Myanmar. Sithu Kyaw/Agora Images

“Children reading under candlelight, sharing their knowledge with one another.”


“Baby reading” by Haimei Li

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USA. Viggo Lundberg/Agora Images

“A baby attempting to read quite a thick book. We wonder what he thinks about it.”


“Reading” by Andry Denisah

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Indonesia. Denisah/Agora Images

“While others are busy with everyday tasks, a pilgrim sits and reads his book in the peacefulness of a mosque.”


“The diversity of an unequal education system” by Hassan Majeed

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Pakistan. Hassan Majeed/Agora Images

“This photo portrays the differences between students of the unequal education system in Gujrat.”


“A, B, C” by Viggo Lundberg

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Sweden. Viggo Lundberg/Agora Images

“Lundberg secretly captured his daughter practicing her ABC’s, expressing her stubborn efforts to learn how to write.”


“After ippon training” by Pascal Biomez

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France. Pascal Biomez/Agora Images

“Education also involves sport. Learning how to be pushed down and how to get back up again is an important life lesson that this girl is facing.”


“Personal Touch” by Amitava Chandra

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India. Amitava Chandra/Agora Images

“A teacher goes out of his way to take initiative in his students’ learning, even when the infrastructural support of the classroom and education system is at a bare minimum.”


“Batik Education” by Wibowo Rahardjo

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Indonesia. Haimei/Agora Images

“This little girl is learning the traditional Indonesian art and craft of batik.”


“Braille Education System” by Jayakrishnan RK

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Canada. Jayakrishnan RK/Agora Images

“A visually-impaired child learning via his Braille System Book. This is the teaching process of the visually-challenged person.”


“Educate” by Swe Tun

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Myanmar. Swe Tun/Agora Images

“This boy is studying hard in his classroom in Kayin, Myanmar.”


“Education” by Dombrovskyi Oleksandr

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Ukraine. Dombrovskyi Oleksandr /Agora Images

“Two children engaged in a book about nature, enjoying warmth and sunshine.”


“Egyptology” by Banu Diker

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Turkey. Banu Diker/Agora Images

“Archeology students discussing ancient hieroglyphs in Bursa, Turkey.”


“Give me five” by Zexuan Hu

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China. Zexuan Hu/Agora

“This photo represents the communication between different cultures. Football is uncommon in China, but is promoted to younger generations.”


“Harp learning” by Gaukhar Yerkimbekova

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Kazakhstan. Gaukhar Yerkimbekova/Agora Images

“Children gathered around a harp, showing pure delight in the angelic instrument.”


“Study time” by Kyaw Khaing

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Myanmar. Kyaw Khaing/Agora Images

“This student demonstrates how reading, studying, and learning leads to becoming a successful and wise person.”


“Learning how to keep the earth green” by Irlan Turhantoro

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Indonesia. Irlan Turhantoro/Agora Images

“Education does not need to be restricted to a classroom, but can also be enjoyed in nature. These children are shown learning how to make Earth greener by planting.”


“Learning is a game” by Olivier de Lécluse

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France. Olivier de Lécluse/Agora Images

“With learning comes play. This is symbolized here, as the game of hopscotch is a symbol of initiation and education. This ancient game has existed among schoolyards for centuries.”


“Learning to play the piano” by Jan Cattaneo

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Italy. Jan Cattaneo/Agora Images

“Teacher and student play piano in harmony, enjoying the simple pleasure of music together.”


“Learning” by Dikye Ariani

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Indonesia. Dikye Ariani/Agora Images

“This man models the idea that you are never too old to keep learning.”


“Read it” by Thet Nanda Aung

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Myanmar. Thet Nanda Aung/Agora Images

“Five excited students, sitting in a field and reading together in Ayeyarwady, Myanmar.”


“Reading a Comic” by Wilmer Valdez Hinojosa

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Spain. Wilmer Valdez Hinojosa/Agora Images

“A child enjoying a comic book on a gloomy day in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.”


“Reading Holy Qur’an” by Dandi Rahman

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Indonesia. Dandi Rahman/Agora Images

“Two young children learning how to read the holy Qur’an and becoming more familiar with their religion.”


“Reading Novices” by Phyu Aye Pwint

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Myanmar. Phyu Aye Pwint/Agora Images

“Young monks sitting on the steps of an ancient building, reading together.”


“Reading” by Rahmad Ladae

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Indonesia. Rahmad Ladae/Agora Images

“This photo depicts a woman who is still passionate about reading and learning, even in her old age.”


“Sitting At My Desk” by Wilson

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USA. Wilson/Agora Images

“This little girl proves to us all that education does not have to be gruelling work, but that it can also be a joy!”


“Students” by Thant Zin

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Myanmar. Thant Zin/Agora Images

“A group of students walking to class in the morning, illuminated by sunshine.”


“The electrician is teaching children” by Đỗ Tuấn Ngọc

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Vietnam. Đỗ Tuấn Ngọc/Agora Images

“With their mouths open in shock, these two girls learn some astonishing facts from an electrician.”


“Thinking in the classroom” by Naing Tun Win

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Myanmar. Naing Tun Win/Agora Images

“A child learning in her classroom, her face illuminated by natural gloomy light.”


“My grandmother taught me to study at night” by Nguyen Vu Phuoc

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Vietnam. Nguyen Vu Phuoc/Agora Images

“This photo portrays the close relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter, as she teaches her how to read and write.”


“What do I want to read?” by Enrique Planelles Obrador

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Spain. Enrique Planelles Obrador/Agora Images

“Obrador states that his daughter ran from his arms straight to the bookshelf with a giant smile on her face. She gives him hope for the education of the next generation.”


“Learning to mend nets” by Khánh Phan

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Vietnam. Khánh Phan/Agora Images

“Two women are pictured here carrying out this tradition.”