The Best Work You May Never See: Across the Pond Creates Poignant Classroom Roll Call For Education Above All


Robert Goldrich
Monday, Sep. 13, 2021


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With fear that most schools in Afghanistan could be closed after the Taliban swept to power last month, Education Above All (EAA), a global foundation protecting the right of children and youth to quality education, is launching a campaign to highlight the deliberate attacks on children’s education around the world.

Created by global creative agency Across the Pond, the campaign debuted on Sept. 9 to coincide with the UN’s annual International Day to Protect Education from Attack, to draw attention to the plight of more than 75 million three-to-18-year-olds living in 35 crisis-affected countries, including Afghanistan, Syria, the Philippines, Sudan and Ukraine, and their urgent need for educational support. 

The campaign features this powerful, heart-rendering film titled “Calling Attendance,”  which shows a school teacher calling out names from the register. As she calls out each name, the children answer “here”--but not from the classroom. 

Instead, we see them answering from their own stark realities: a child soldier polishing weapons rather than studying, a refugee fleeing conflict with just the clothes on her back, a traumatized young boy in a bomb-damaged ruin as war rages around him, and scared young girls facing sexual assault and kidnapping. The beautifully shot but unflinching film aims to illustrate that when children are not in school, they are often somewhere much worse.

The film was streamed live on Sept. 9 as part of a virtual event organized by EAA in partnership with UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Office of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict on the UN’s annual International Day to Protect Education From Attack.

EAA will share the film across all its social channels and wants as many people as possible to do the same to help protect the education of the world’s most vulnerable children and to put pressure on those in power across the world to do so too. 

Every day, children have their education destroyed because of war, sexual exploitation, murder, kidnapping and military occupation of schools committed by those with political, ideological and military motives. EAA is trying to stop this and persuade world leaders that education is a human right and should be a top priority. 

EAA focuses on protection and provision of education during war, conflict and insecurity and has programs that protect and provide education in the world’s most challenging conflict zones. EAA is currently adapting some of its long-distance learning materials specifically to help Afghan refugees around the world.


Client Education Above All (EAA) Ryan Chittenden, coordinating producer; Zeina Awad, supervising producer. Agency Across the Pond, London Jim de Zoete, executive creative director; Maggi Machado, Nick Alden, creatives; Anna Brent, executive producer; Tom Dore, head of production. Production Across the Pond, London Nathan Sam Long, director; Matt Mager, sr. producer; Oliver Ford, DP; Viviana Cabral, production manager; Jakob Gierse, production designer. Casting Emma Garrett, casting director. Editorial Cheat, London Phil Currie, editor. Sound Design Luis Issermann, sound designer.

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