The extreme ways kids get to school around the world – Gian nan con đường đến lớp học

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kids going to school
Stringer/Reuters

In the United States, the site of a yellow bus bouncing down the road is practically synonymous with school.

But in other parts of the world, the trek to school looks much different.

Some kids in the Philippines step through knee-deep rocky waters to get to class, while students in Japan pass Geiger counters tracking local radiation levels.

Here’s what early-morning commutes to school look like around the world.

In the Central Kalimantan province of Indonesia, kids ride their bikes through air thick with smog. Air pollution levels have risen steadily in the country in recent years.
In the Central Kalimantan province of Indonesia, kids ride their bikes through air thick with smog. Air pollution levels have risen steadily in the country in recent years.Sigit Pamungkas/Reuters
In parts of Cairo, Egypt, “school buses” involve kids piling into and hanging off the back of ordinary trucks.
In parts of Cairo, Egypt, Amr Dalsh/Reuters
On the outskirts of New Delhi, India, groups of at least 35 children sit together on a horse cart to get home from school.
On the outskirts of New Delhi, India, groups of at least 35 children sit together on a horse cart to get home from school.Pawel Kopczynski/AP
In Sri Lanka, some girls must cross wooden planks laid over the walls of a 16th century fort in the coastal town of Galle.
In Sri Lanka, some girls must cross wooden planks laid over the walls of a 16th century fort in the coastal town of Galle.Vivek Prakash/Reuters
About 13 miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, kids at Omika Elementary School come face to face with Geiger counters ticking off local radiation levels.
About 13 miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, kids at Omika Elementary School come face to face with Geiger counters ticking off local radiation levels.Toru Hanai/Reuters
In earthquake- and tsunami-prone Tokyo, some schools ask parents to give their kids protective headgear in case a natural disaster strikes.
In earthquake- and tsunami-prone Tokyo, some schools ask parents to give their kids protective headgear in case a natural disaster strikes.Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters
With all the country’s rapid infrastructure growth, kids in China’s Henan province often walk through demolition sites to get to school.
With all the country's rapid infrastructure growth, kids in China's Henan province often walk through demolition sites to get to school.Stringer/Reuters
About 600 miles south, kids in the flood-prone towns of Jiangxi Province must rely on parents to make accommodations when roads turn into streams.
About 600 miles south, kids in the flood-prone towns of Jiangxi Province must rely on parents to make accommodations when roads turn into streams.Stringer/Reuters
Crossing waterways is common in other parts of the world, too. Children in Rizal province near Manila, Philippines, use inflated tire tubes to cross a river on their way to school.
Crossing waterways is common in other parts of the world, too. Children in Rizal province near Manila, Philippines, use inflated tire tubes to cross a river on their way to school.Bullit Marquez/AP
In Indonesia’s Banten province, students are sometimes forced to cross bridges even after they’ve collapsed.
In Indonesia's Banten province, students are sometimes forced to cross bridges even after they've collapsed.Beawiharta Beawiharta/Reuters
Some bridges on the Ciherang river in Banten province can’t be crossed due to flooding, so students use bamboo rafts to get home from school.
Some bridges on the Ciherang river in Banten province can't be crossed due to flooding, so students use bamboo rafts to get home from school.Beawiharta/Reuters
In other parts of the country, the wooden boats that ferry kids across the Musi River sometimes fill up to the extent kids must stand on the roof.
In other parts of the country, the wooden boats that ferry kids across the Musi River sometimes fill up to the extent kids must stand on the roof.Beawiharta Beawiharta/Reuters
Others are more fortunate to have larger boats that can accommodate more children and their bicycles.
Others are more fortunate to have larger boats that can accommodate more children and their bicycles.Reuters
And in Kawag village, an area just north of Manila, in the Philippines, some kids must traverse knee-deep water that edges up to rocky beaches.
And in Kawag village, an area just north of Manila, in the Philippines, some kids must traverse knee-deep water that edges up to rocky beaches.Lorgina Minguito/Reuters
Other Philippine children have taken to using homemade rafts, fashioned out of bamboo, to reach the remote Casili Elementary School in Rodriguez, Rizal province.
Other Philippine children have taken to using homemade rafts, fashioned out of bamboo, to reach the remote Casili Elementary School in Rodriguez, Rizal province.Erik De Castro/Reuters
Sometimes the transportation is especially ingenious, like the seated zip line in the Indonesian town of Kolaka Utara. The seat can hold a maximum of four people.
Sometimes the transportation is especially ingenious, like the seated zip line in the Indonesian town of Kolaka Utara. The seat can hold a maximum of four people.Antara Foto Agency/Reuters
Some children bike to school in the Morigaon district of northeastern India, but heavy rains can flood paddy fields and require the children to travel by boat.
Some children bike to school in the Morigaon district of northeastern India, but heavy rains can flood paddy fields and require the children to travel by boat.Stringer India/Reuters
In many regions, a lack of infrastructure means kids must get resourceful. Kids in the Indian state of Kashmir rely on a damaged footbridge to cross the stream.
In many regions, a lack of infrastructure means kids must get resourceful. Kids in the Indian state of Kashmir rely on a damaged footbridge to cross the stream.Danish Ismail/Reuters
It takes two hours for kids in the “cliff village” of Liangshan Sichuan province in China to climb the steel ladders and make their way to school. The steel ladders replaced unsafe vines that led to three-hour commutes.
It takes two hours for kids in the Stringer/Reuters
Equally treacherous are the cliffside walks families take in Guizhou province in order to make their way to Banpo Primary School.
Equally treacherous are the cliffside walks families take in Guizhou province in order to make their way to Banpo Primary School.Stringer/Reuters
Kids in the Saudi Arabian town of Jazan climb concrete stairs built on the side of Fifa Mountain to reach their schoolhouses.
Kids in the Saudi Arabian town of Jazan climb concrete stairs built on the side of Fifa Mountain to reach their schoolhouses.Mohamed Alhwaity/Reuters
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