All lined up in neat rows watching Marlon Kaup deliver a colourful PowerPoint presentation, students at Holy Trinity High School appeared to be participating in an ordinary lecture, yesterday morning.
But when the clock ticked to 9 a.m. the group of Grade 10 and 11 students became one part of a global effort to break a world record, all while raising awareness of the need to recognize education as a basic human right.
The World’s Biggest Lesson included students from over 100 countries. It was organized by the Global Campaign for Education, a group dedicated to lobbying the international community on behalf of those who do not have access to basic education.
While there are gripes about large class sizes here in Canada, Kaup drew attention to some startling statistics. In Zambia, the average student-to-teacher ratio is 64:1, while in Liberia the average student-to-textbook ratio is 27:1.
Students learned that 750 million people worldwide cannot read or write.
“More than the combined population of United States, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. You take all those nations and put them together and they can’t read,” Kaup explained.
He emphasized that eight million Canadians don’t have the necessary literacy skills to succeed in our knowledge-based society.
The world record attempt was part of Global Action Week, which runs until April 27. The campaign hopes to ensure that no child is excluded from a quality education by 2015.

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