Top 10 Documentaries That Celebrate the Power of Education

Nov. 10, 2023


Education is the beacon that guides us to enlightenment, breaking barriers and building bridges to a better future. While many of us may take it for granted, for others, it's a hard-won treasure. The following documentaries bring to life the transformative power of education, showcasing how knowledge can ignite change in every corner of the globe.


Each documentary we'll explore offers a unique perspective on education. They tell stories of resilience and hope, where education becomes the catalyst for overcoming adversity. From traditional classrooms to unconventional learning environments, these films uncover the impact of education on individuals and communities, celebrating the human spirit's insatiable desire to learn and grow.


In viewing these films, we are reminded that education is more than just academic learning; it's a comprehensive journey that shapes our values, our choices, and our world. These documentaries challenge us to think about our own educational experiences and the role of learning in shaping a just and informed society.


Important Documentaries About the Power of Education:



On the Way to School

three young people look at the. view from a cliff

This inspiring film follows four children from different parts of the world as they embark on challenging journeys to get an education. It's a testament to their determination and the sheer will to overcome physical obstacles for learning.


Public library

two bald men with glasses share a book

In this captivating documentary, a diverse array of regulars, students, and passersby seek solace at the Bibliothèque Publique d'Information, nestled in the heart of Paris. Amidst the bustling crowd, between the bookshelves and along the corridors, we encounter inspired learners, erudite enthusiasts, solitary souls, idle regulars, and fervent artists. As they engage with the myriad cultural resources at their fingertips, each visitor uniquely "inhabits" the library. They reveal how books, music, and videos become an integral part of their lives. Serving as a public haven for personal enrichment, the library fosters a quiet, unpretentious community that thrives in its shared pursuit of knowledge and inspiration.


Waiting for 'Superman 

four young people of different ethnicities

An eye-opening look at the American public education system, this documentary examines the struggles of students and families navigating through bureaucracy and the quest for quality education, sparking discussions on educational reform.


The School In The Cloud

two boys covered by a blanket

In the modern digital era, where a vast expanse of information is just a few clicks away, the traditional Victorian model of education faces obsolescence. "School In The Cloud" delves into this pressing issue, exploring the innovative vision of Indian professor Sugata Mitra, who advocates for a radical transformation in both the methodology and content of our learning systems. This thought-provoking documentary tracks a bold three-year experiment where Mitra installs unmanned internet kiosks in diverse settings - from the remote villages of West Bengal to a school in North East England. These kiosks stand as beacons of self-directed learning, challenging conventional classrooms and offering a glimpse into a future where children are the architects of their education. This film is a compelling journey into the potential of networked learning, posing critical questions about the future of education in our interconnected world.


The Forbidden Education

a young short-haired student

This film explores alternative education models and criticizes the traditional schooling system. It's a thought-provoking documentary that challenges conventional norms and suggests innovative approaches to teaching and learning.


Here And Yonder

a young black-haired student shows a blackboard

In the heart of Argentina, an Armenian school community marks April as a month of profound significance. It's the Centennial year of the Armenian Genocide, a poignant chapter in history that continues to echo through generations. Coinciding with this somber anniversary is an innovative project led by filmmaker Hernán Khourian - a "Cinema Workshop" for the school's 6th-grade students. This unique educational endeavor seeks to blend creativity with history, encouraging students to engage with and explore multimedia tools. The objective: is to craft a collective documentary that delves into the intricate narratives of genocide and the preservation of Armenian culture in the diaspora. As the students embark on this journey, they not only learn the technical skills of documentary filmmaking but also connect deeply with their heritage, weaving a tapestry of stories that resonate with their identity and collective memory.


Girl Rising

yellow hands and a girl digital draw

This film tells the stories of nine girls from developing countries, highlighting the role of education in empowering women and changing communities. It's a powerful narrative combines storytelling with advocacy for girls' education worldwide.


Young Hope

a blonde girl with curly hair

In a bold and unscripted gesture, a group of high school students from Roubaix steps forward to initiate a much-needed dialogue. They address the adults - their usual educators - not with demands, but with a simple, yet profound request: "We merely ask that you take some time to listen to us." This moment, rare and raw within the confines of the school environment, pierces through the routine dynamics of education. It brings forth an exploration of the delicate balance between nurturing dreams and the relentless pressure to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. Through this exchange, both students and teachers confront the realities and challenges of fostering aspirations in an environment often dominated by the metrics of success. This encounter becomes a reflection on the right to dream and the role of education in shaping or stifling these dreams.


He Named Me Malala

a girl with a burka in front of a blackboard

A poignant portrait of Malala Yousafzai, a young girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. This documentary offers an intimate look at her life, her fight for girls' education, and her Nobel Peace Prize-winning activism.


Grands Travaux

two african americans talking on cell phones

This gripping documentary unfolds within the walls of the Institute Anneessens-Funck, a Dutch-speaking vocational school nestled in the heart of Brussels. This film not only captures the everyday life of the school but also weaves a vivid tapestry of Brussels as it stands today. At its core are the young students, immersed in learning trades that will shape their futures. Through their experiences, interactions, and the unique rhythm of their daily routines, the film presents an intimate portrayal of youth at a formative crossroads. The school, a microcosm of the city itself, reflects the diverse, dynamic nature of Brussels and places its young learners at the forefront, offering a compelling glimpse into the lives of the next generation as they navigate their path in a rapidly evolving world.


These documentaries offer more than just a glimpse into the world of education; they mirror our society's values. They show that access to education remains a vital, ongoing global battle. As we witness these stories, we're reminded of Nelson Mandela's words: "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." May these films inspire us to cherish and advocate for education for all as a pathway to a brighter, more equitable future.


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