Biggest Lesson in History! (Global Campaign for Education)

Article excerpt

On 9 April 2003, halfway through Global Action Week 2003 (6 to 13 April), over 1.3 million people-students, teachers, celebrities, government officials, community activists- from over a hundred countries converged in universities, schools, community halls, adult education centres and churches to take part in what was going to be "The World's Biggest Lesson". Thus a new world record of the largest simultaneous lesson in history was being set, breaking the record made in the United Kingdom in March 2003, when 28,801 children took part in a language class.

Around the world, lessons were taught simultaneously by luminaries and ordinary people alike--from Sierra Leone's President Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to an aspiring 11-year-old girl who sold peanuts after school to support her family in the Gambia. At London's Wembley Grand Hall, schoolchildren were joined by a "East Enders" star, Michelle Collins, girl-bands Charli and Tommi, and television presenter Shavaughn Ruakere. In Paris, UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura presented a lesson to Member States during an executive board meeting in New York, UNICEF Special Representative and singer Angelique Kidjo taught a thirty-minute lesson on girls' education and was joined by Nane Annan, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's wife, and UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.

The global event was devoted to raising awareness of the importance of education of girls and women and its direct impact on the health, economic development and poverty reduction of the family. …