Gregory Park Primary students explore SDGs in UN session

Gregory Park Primary students explore SDGs in UN session

Friday, November 08, 2019

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GREGORY Park Primary School in Portmore, St Catherine, was this year chosen as the main beneficiary of an intervention by the United Nations (UN) — the 'World's Largest Lesson (WLL)' — which relays the importance of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development in a way that children can understand.

The WLL is a repository of lesson plans and activity ideas for all ages that are online and is linked to the UN's broader global campaign, 'Project Everyone', which promotes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

These SDGs are the blueprint to achieving a better and more sustainable future for all, and are designed to tackle a range of development challenges.

Since 2015, Jamaica has joined the world in participating in the WLL, where a government ministers, along with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF's) representatives, engage students at one particular school in the activities under the initiative.

The first year Jamaica participated, Jessie Ripoll Primary School benefited. This was followed by Campion College, then Cumberland High, and The Queen's School last year.

This year, state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Alando Terrelonge accompanied by education specialist, UNICEF, Dr Rebecca Tortello, engaged grades five and six students of Gregory Park Primary in an interactive 45-minute session.

Speaking with Jamaica Information Service (JIS) News following the session, Terrelonge explained that this year's initiative focused on the rights of the child, in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), the most widely ratified human rights treaty.

“In celebrating the CRC, we thought it would be very important to teach them about the SDGs, because our Vision 2030 Jamaica (National Development Plan) is in line with the SDGs, and there are several factors which will impact on the rights of our children,” he said.

“So, when you speak about the right to an education, the right to health, the right to a world free of poverty, the right to play, and the right to be heard, and just the right to live their best lives ever, all of those rights, they are completely impacted on by the SDGs and how we put those goals into practice,” he further explained.

During the session with the students, Terrelonge explained the importance and relevance of the SDGs by breaking down the goals into three key concepts — eradicating poverty, ending hunger, and fighting the harmful effects of climate change — stressing that they have a role to play in this regard. In the meantime, Dr Tortello encouraged teachers to incorporate the WLL in their curricula.

“Teachers can go online at www.worldslargestlesson. and find lesson plans marked for different age groups on each of the 17 goals,” she said.

She thanked the education ministry for sending out a bulletin to all schools about the World's Largest Lesson, which is normally taught across the world between September and November each year.

The bulletin states that through the lessons and activities, students will understand the relationship between the SDGs and children's rights, and they will be encouraged to identify actions that they can take to make both of these a reality in their own lives and communities.

It further notes that the ministry is ensuring that children and young people are being educated about the global goals as soon as possible, and, as such, local schools and teachers are encouraged to deliver the introduction to the WLL.

The material, which is created by and for teachers to use across the world, can be incorporated also during assembly or into existing curricula, namely, civics/social studies/geography, health and family life education, science, or history.

Schools that participate in the WLL are asked to tag #jamaicagoals and @theworldslesson and post reflections on their experiences.

The 17 SDGs are No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Reduced Inequal ity, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace and Justice Strong Institutions and Partnerships to achieve the Goals.

The SDGs were designed by the UN to provide opportunities for everyone, regardless of background, to tackle issues like climate change and keeping the planet fair, healthy and sustainable.

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