More than 103,000 students and 5,400 teachers in Romania learned how we can fight climate change

The children learned how to responsibly dispose of masks and other protective equipment against COVID-19 and made action plans to promote environmental protection in their communities

30 December 2020

In just three weeks, the 2020 edition of the global initiative World's Largest Lesson has managed to provide information on environmental protection to more than 100,000 students in dozens of cities and rural areas across the country. Most of the children are students from grades I-VIII, but many high school and preschoolers also participated. Based on what they discovered, children began communicating with members of their communities to reduce pollution from improperly disposed personal protective equipment.

Even this year, which has disrupted the work of teachers and students, putting them in an unprecedented situation, there has been great interest in participating in the World's Largest Lesson from teachers in all areas of the country. World Largest Lesson is a project of the non-profit agency Project Everyone, developed in partnership with UNICEF and UNESCO. In Romania, the initiative benefited from the partnership of the Ministry of Education and Research and the support of the Department for Sustainable Development.

Between November 11-29, 5,460 teachers from hundreds of schools nationwide organized an interactive activity with their students on fighting climate change, using materials created for the World Largest Lesson and made available by UNICEF in Romania. This year, a specific environmental issue was addressed - combating the increase in pollution due to masks and other protection products against COVID-19 (gloves, visors, etc.).

The success of the lesson, in Romania, is also measured by the participation in the questionnaire that verified the knowledge acquired by students and validated their intention to get involved concretely in order to produce a positive change. 24,200 children answered the questions, showing that they had deepened important knowledge about responsible disposal of masks and other personal protective equipment used in the COVID-19 pandemic.

All students who took part in the online questionnaire chose several ways to use this knowledge in practice and identified the directions of an action plan, on an individual and collective level. They undertook, first and foremost, to ensure that everyone in the family disposed responsibility of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment. They also stated that they would raise the attention of those they see discarding them carelessly and that they would communicate to friends and colleagues what they had learned.

Romanian teachers and students have joined millions of young people around the world, strengthening the global effort of the young generation to take action against climate change. Thus, each year, the World's Largest Lesson encourages and supports children to get involved in achieving the 17 goals for sustainable development of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

The teachers confirmed the change in attitude that participating in the World's Greatest Lesson produced among the children.

"The students were delighted with the videos presented and were very attentive to the presentation of the objectives for sustainable development. They realized that through collective actions they can contribute to the formation of responsible behaviors in the community they belong to ", said Simona Rotaru, teacher at the Gymnasium School Nr. 1 from Todirești, Iași

Magdalena Cheța, a teacher from Bacău, remarked that the lesson helped her students to feel “responsible for the future of the planet. They want to contribute to a change for the better ... with small but firm steps ...”

It was a good opportunity to learn about protecting the environment also for children in kindergartens. "We joined this project because at the beginning of this school year we carried out a project on children's rights, and preschoolers were very interested and excited about the information they discovered in the proposed activities," said Ioana Oncioiu , from the "TIc-Pitic" Kindergarten in Bucharest.