Time for School

Time for School: 2003-2016 puts a human face on an underreported global crisis, by spotlighting the journey of five extraordinary children in five countries as they struggle to get a basic education.

Film Signature Image
Premiere Date
September 15, 2016
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects

Nina Chaudry

Nina Chaudry is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. She was the project director of Chasing the Dream, a public media reporting initiative about poverty in the United States. Previously, she produced a film about the education reformer Michelle Rhee for PBS’s Frontline. She was the senior producer of Women, War & Peace, a Show more five-part PBS series on the strategic role of women in global conflict and peacebuilding. For seven years, she was a producer for the Emmy Award-winning international series Wide Angle, where she worked with independent filmmakers on more than 40 documentaries, covering issues such as the drug-fueled corruption in Colombia, the challenges of fostering democracy in Afghanistan, and efforts to reduce maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Nina has been a judge, panelist, or featured speaker for the Independent Filmmaker Project, Firelight Media, ITVS, POV, the U.N. and several universities. Show less

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The Film

Time for School: 2013-2016 is the stories of five kids in five countries who are struggling against the odds to get a basic education. These children live in countries where poverty, child labor, early marriage, and the chaos of war prevent legions of young people from getting an education. Time for School follows Nanavi in Benin, Jefferson in Brazil, Neeraj in India, Joab in Kenya, and Shugufa in Afghanistan during their first days of school and then for the next 12 years.

In 2003, they all began at the same starting gate, all bright and eager to learn. Soon, growing contrasts emerged in the quality and stability of the children’s educations and each faced obstacles that threatened their ability to remain in school. Time for School was inspired by the Millennium Development Goal of Education for All, a promise that 189 nations made to the United Nations in 2000, to provide every child around the world with a free primary education by 2015.

While there has been progress over the past 15 years, there are still 58 million children out of school around the globe and around 100 million who do not complete primary school – in spite of universal recognition that education is the smartest anti-poverty investment that any country can make. Told primarily from the point of view of the children and their families, Time for School presents the contrasting lives of those who were forced to abandon schooling and those who are still following their dreams. While each child has a unique story, taken together their lives tell an epic tale, shedding light on one of the most urgent and underreported stories of our time.