Friday, 2 May 2008

lessons learned

I meant to talk about this earlier, because *WOW*. It's lately been confirmed that the World's Biggest Lesson was exactly that - in official world-record-ese.
The Global Campaign for Education set up a good, good thing. The Lesson was 30 minutes, to be held at one of 3 different times during April 23rd (to account for the time zones), ending with a test to see how much people had learnt. The topic was quality education as a basic human right, and in many of the countries that took part, the Lesson was taught by kids (sometimes by kids who are currently excluded from formal education) and attended by adults, celebrities, politicians - even the King of Cambodia.
Participating groups then reported back to say how many attended, and the count was taken, and although it's still rising, the world record has officially been set, with over 7.5 million people learning the same Lesson at the same time.
You can check out the photos here, and they make that inarticulable Thing well up inside me. That Thing we all have that makes us want to cheer and cry at the same time and that is really much , much more than just that, but that is generally -as I say - inarticulable. Where you feel power - 7.5 million!! - and powerlessness - only 7.5 million in the whole world?? From let's do this!! to where do you even start??
I got to be a highly-educated woman (notwithstanding the fact that if they did qualifications in your actual common sense, I'd barely scrape a GCSE) in a world in which one in four of us (women, that is) is illiterate. I'm constantly reminded, with events such as these, that I'm lucky enough to make a living editing a newspaper rather than delivering one. The only difference is my education.
Given that, according to GCE's estimations, 72 million kids worldwide are missing out, 7.5 million - and that's altogether; it includes the attendance of the already-educated politicians and celebs and general adult population and kids who are in school - seems like a bit of a drop in the ocean. But it's a start.

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