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Tears flow on Filipino kids' first day at school

Rolex Dela Pena / EPA

A kindergarten teacher attends to a crying student on the first day of a new school year at a public elementary school in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, on June 3, 2013.

Jay Directo / AFP - Getty Images

Students crying on their first day at a government school in Manila on June 3, 2013.

Jay Directo / AFP - Getty Images

Hundreds of students queue as they attend the first day of school in Manila on June 3, 2013.

Do you remember your first day of school? The feeling of excitement — or dread? 

The new school year in the Philippines officially opened on Monday with over 20 million students trooping to public elementary and high schools and kindergartens, Agence France-Presse reported. 

And for those who reacted to their first sight of a classroom by bursting into tears, the end to their ordeal must seem further away than ever. Last month, Philippine President Benigno Aquino signed a law giving children three extra years of schooling, one of his key reforms aimed at lifting the country out of poverty.

Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA

Grade school students cross a river on a makeshift bamboo raft on the first day of a new school year in a remote village in Rizal province, east of Manila, June 3, 2013.

Bullit Marquez / AP

Elementary pupils attend the opening day of classes at a school in a remote village in Rodriguez township, Rizal province, east of Manila, on June 3, 2013..

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