“If we want to reach real peace in this world, we should start educating children” – Mahatma Gandhi
INDIA, 5th September 2015 – In September 2016, world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will mark the first anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These Global Goals are a global plan to end poverty, reduce inequalities and combat the threat of climate change by 2030.
The World’s Largest Lesson provides a unique opportunity for children and young people to engage with the SDGs. Launched in September 2015, lessons have taken place in 160 countries. Participating schools used original learning materials about the Global Goals that were translated into 25 languages. The materials included lesson plans, comic books and an animated film introduced by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, tennis champion Serena Williams and international football star Neymar Jr. In India alone, the World’s Largest Lesson reached an estimated 3 million children who watched an animation film on the Global Goals.
On the occasion of National Teachers Day, 250 eminent educationalists, UN Global Goals champions, members of civil society, UN bodies, corporates, youth groups, students, teachers and one of the esteemed ambassadors of the World’s Largest Lesson, Indian Actor and youth icon Sonam Kapoor, gathered at GEMS Academy, Gurgaon, to launch The World’s Largest Lesson India, the India chapter of the programme, which aims to teach every child in India – nearly 360 million - a lesson about the Global Goals.
Powered by India partner GEMS Education, the world’s largest K-12 private education provider, and implemented in partnership with UNICEF, The World’s Largest Lesson India will encourage schools to teach at least one lesson on the Global Goals, to make sure children understand and are empowered by the commitments their country has made to ending poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. Schools are then encouraged to support students to take action to help achieve the goals.
India is a global leader economically and in technology, and has every potential to become a front-runner in ending poverty. The country is at the crossroads of transformation and several strides have been made to address national and global issues, but more can and needs to be done. With over a quarter of the world’s population being under the age of 14 years old and with India having the largest youth population in the world, children and young people will be most affected by the implementation of the goals. The World’s Largest Lesson India initiative aims to engage children and young people in the ambitions of the goals and encourage their participation in this process of change.
The World’s Largest Lesson is an initiative by Project Everyone, an organisation conceived by Writer, Director, Comic Relief Cofounder & UN SDG Advocate Richard Curtis to make the Global Goals famous, so that they stand the greatest chance of being achieved. Speaking about the launch of World’s Largest Lesson India, he said, “We are delighted to launch the World’s Largest Lesson India and are grateful to our founding partner GEMS Education for making this happen. We are overwhelmed with the incredible support of partners such as Reliance Group, tGELF, the very talented Sonam Kapoor and countless others for helping us to engage children in the Global Goals.
Children and young people are right at the heart of the Global Goals agenda. The World’s Largest Lesson is based on the idea that if children right across the world grow up knowing about the goals and feeling positive that this is practical plan with a deadline that they can fight for, then I truly believe that this will help them become the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most determined generation to fight inequality and injustice and the last generation to be threatened by climate change. The World’s Largest Lesson is just the first step in this but it’s a very important one and we’re delighted that India’s children can take part. “