The world's largest lesson

Education will be at the heart of this activity and The ‘World’s Largest Lesson’ will be the cornerstone in permeating the education community

The World’s Largest Lesson is a collaborative education project to support the announcement of the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. It is one great big opportunity to foster global citizenship in schools, to support students learning across a range of subject areas such as science, geography, citizenship and technology and to develop big ideas including human rights, poverty, and environmental issues.

Education will be at the heart of this activity and The ‘World’s Largest Lesson’ will be the cornerstone in permeating the education community. It will be the largest collaborative education project the world has ever seen.

Ministries of Education are pledging their support and education organisations are joining together across the world to make this lesson a reality. This week, almost 200 world leaders have committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve three extraordinary things in the next 15 years. We can be the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most determined generation in history to end injustice and inequality, and the last generation to be threatened by climate change.

Nelson Mandela had said “Poverty is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.” The target is that of eradicating extreme poverty for all people all over the world. By 2030, the world should reduce poverty at least by half. To do this we must implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all.  All men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, should have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic needs and services. 

By 2030, hunger must end. All those in vulnerable situations, should have access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. The whole world must work towards providing clean water and sanitation in all the corners of the world. The Global goals for sustainable development deal with renewable energy and the need for careful planning and designing for new communities, including both private and public housing projects.

Providing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is essential. Through full and productive employment and as long as people have decent work, sustainable economic growth becomes a reality.  By 2020, we should substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training and by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.

Education plays an important part in any programme for sustainable development. All countries must ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. In the next fifteen years it is crucial that all women and men have equal access to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university. There must be a substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship. World leaders have set another important goal – that by 2030 all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy skills.

The targets set for climate change measures, renewable energy and the environment are indeed challenging but of the utmost importance. As Barak Obama said “No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change”.  Increased awareness and the promotion of mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management, are goals that have been set and that must be met.

The World’s Largest Lesson is one in which we should all cooperate as teachers and unite as students. If every school in the world teaches children about the ambitious goals set, then we would have helped them become the generation that changed the world.

More information on the World’s Largest lesson is available on:


Dentistry on the move

On a separate note, I wish to congratulate the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the University of Malta, on the setting up a mobile dental clinic to reach out to the Maltese in their respective community and provide oral health advice and dental care.

A first in Malta, the mobile dental clinic will be visiting localities across Malta and Gozo. The aim is to reach out to all sectors of society, including the underprivileged communities, the institutionalised, all schools including special needs schools, orphanages, the homebound elderly and all those who would otherwise depend on a third party to be able to access dental care.

Through this project the University of Malta is taking a more active role in our society. While providing dental students with the opportunity to gain experience, the project will also serve to collect information and data for field-studies, intended to identify specific needs in the community and provide more appropriate care and service.

The mobile dentistry unit will be visiting schools in Malta and Gozo to stress the importance of prevention programmes and to promote better oral health.  A National Oral Health survey will be held and participants will also benefit from a free dental screening. Obviously the results are not yet published but the survey indicates that around 31% of 3 year olds are already at risk of having dental caries. Over 40% of these are overweight and 70% are already showing signs of tooth erosion.

This survey will also help strengthen our resolve in the promotion of the Healthy Eating policy which is designed to promote and improve eating habits of our school children.