UNESCO strongly believes that education is central to any programme targeted at preserving the integrity and values of sport. Lasting prevention will be achieved through the education of athletes, athlete support personnel and entourage, as well as the wider sporting community, children and youth.
UNESCO is particularly interested in raising awareness among the athletes and citizens of tomorrow. It is important for young generations to be conscious of the harm caused by doping to both sport and their health. Schools and sports clubs provide ideal learning environments for young people to learn and assimilate values such as fair play, inclusion, self-respect, teamwork and other ethical principles associated with sport.
Innovative education for development
Education in the 21st century increasingly recognizes the role of values and social skills in tackling global challenges, such as inactivity, obesity, unemployment, and conflict. This approach is at the core of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on quality education, which advocates for inclusive lifelong learning opportunities and innovative content delivery.
Dynamic forms of values-based education using sport can be introduced in schools to support teachers deliver curricula actively and cooperatively.
What are sport values?
Sport can teach values such as fairness, teambuilding, equality, discipline, inclusion, perseverance and respect.
Sport has the power to provide a universal framework for learning values, thus contributing to the development of soft skills needed for responsible citizenship.
What can Values Education through Sport offer?
Values Education through Sport (VETS) programmes support active learning, complement cognitive skills and give students increasing amounts of responsibility, and enhance their level of concentration and participation.
VETS programmes are flexible and have a strong cross-curricular potential: they can reinforce existing curricula and can be streamed across different subjects, including physical education, civic and moral education, nutrition, biology, arts.
Ultimately, these programmes help students to transfer and put values into action outside the school environment, by getting engaged in their communities, making informed decisions, being sensitive and respecting the others and the environment. VETS contributes to the development of self-confidence, active and healthy lifestyle choices, and an understanding of rights, supporting the delicate transition to the independence of adulthood.
UNESCO has developed several tools presenting the benefits of sport values in all world regions that you can check out and download:
- an animated video, also available subtitled in French
- a bilingual photo book, available in English-French and English-Portuguese
- an advocacy infographic, also available in Arabic, Chinese, French and Russian
Support the Sport Values Education Partnership
UNESCO has joined forces with the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE), the International Fair Play Committee (IFPC), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
This Education Partnership aims to embed sports values across school-based curricula.
In the context of this Partnership, a “Sport values in every classroom: teaching respect, equity and inclusion to 8-12 year-old students” toolkit for teachers was developed.
Its mission is to assist teachers in their work to instil in children the values of respect, equity and inclusion through engaging activities.