Back to school in Tripoli

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Pupils in Tripoli tell Schools World Service about returning to school after conflict in their country for key stage 2

Back to school in Tripoli (key stage 2 film) dur 4,00

Conflict affects schools

It is morning in Tripoli and these children are starting a new school year in a new Libya.

BBC reporter Gabriel Gatehouse at a school in Libya

It has been a tough year for Libyan school children.

Some of them have seen their schools destroyed while others have missed exams.

The school year is behind by three months and these kids have come back to school in January 2012 to face a whole new reality.

For the first time in forty-two years, Libya isn't ruled by Muammar Gaddafi. It has taken months of protests, civil war, and international bombing.

Students in a Libyan school told BBC reporter, Gabriel Gatehouse, how scared they had been during the bombing that stopped them from attending school.

"It was very scary with the bombing… so we didn't come to school," a student said.

Gabriel visited a destroyed building which was once a secondary school. It was bombed during the battle for Tripoli.

This school and hundreds like it across Libya were used by Colonel Gaddifi's men to store guns, bullets and used as military facilities and even short-term prisons.

Freedom at last

Pupils at school in Libya

After months of fighting rebel forces seized control and Tripoli fell.

People took to the streets to celebrate a new Libya. With Gaddafi gone, Libyans felt free to express themselves - at home, at work, at school.

"After the revolution everything changed," a girl told Gabriel, "…we are now free and school is much better", she added.

One of the students has proposed an idea to help other children express their opinions at school. She wants to start a students' union, which is like a club for them to express themselves.

"I think for democracy in schools we should start from the beginning. As students, we should make a union because I think it helps us students in school."

What the future holds?

For decades, school children started the day singing a song chosen by Gaddafi.

Pupils at school in Libya

Now they sing a new song and raise a new flag.

The future remains uncertain and the real task -rebuilding their country - lies ahead. It's a difficult time and even with Gaddafi gone, the country is far from peaceful.

But these pupils are already looking to the future.

"I want to be a captain of an airplane," said one pupil. Another wants to become a judge.

"Life is becoming more normal. We are forgetting about it and just studying and having a normal school life," she said. "We have to study to make our country better when we grow up: our country needs us."

Schools World Service is a BBC British Council co-production

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