How children feel at school

UNICEF/HQ92-0548/ JEREMY HARTLEY
Ballet class in a crèche in Bucharest, Romania.

Almost all children say they go to school (virtually all the children and 90% of young adults), in particular those who live with one or both parents. Thirty per cent of those who do not go to school say they have regular jobs or that they work part-time or occasionally (10%).

Only 7 per cent say their main reason for going to school is because they have to. Key reasons for attending school are: to learn (52%); to be well educated (18%); to further professional ambitions (11%), and for a better future (4%).

Nearly 7 in 10 children report having good or very good relations with their teachers, with a higher percentage in the transition countries and among girls, younger children and those who have higher level of happiness. About 3% say they have poor relations with teachers and tend to blame the teachers for this state of affairs, saying they treat them unfairly, scold them and do not listen to them.

Over 75 per cent of children report having good or very good relations with their schoolmates. Children tend to report better relationships with their own gender, particularly in the younger age group, but 3% say their relations with schoolmates are poor, citing bullying, beating and a lack of mutual understanding.

Thirty-nine per cent of children find it easy to discuss their problems and needs in school, in particular girls, children from higher socio-economic groups and those living in urban areas. Those who describe their relationships with teachers and schoolmates in positive terms tend to say it is easy for students to discuss their problems in school, saying good communication with teachers is key (55%).

Those who find it difficult to discuss their problems in school (13%) say they do not want to, or do not dare to, speak about their problems in the school setting. Others - particularly older children and those in Western Europe - say that teachers do not listen. Reluctance to talk about problems ranks highest among children living in the transition countries, with the rigidity of the school system mentioned by almost 2 in 10 children in former Yugoslavia.

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• I go to school…(by region) [view]
• It is easy to discuss problems…(by detailed region) [view]
• It is easy to discuss problems
(by gender, age, area or socio-economic group)

This information is provided as a contribution to discussion on important issues affecting children. UNICEF Regional offices conducted the polls, analysis and interpretations of the findings. For more information, please contact the regional poll contact person directly.

About the survey
How happy children are
How children feel at home
How children feel at school
How children feel in today's society
How safe children feel
Children and harmful or illegal substances
How informed children are
Children's views on government and politics
How children see the future