Sport and Education
Sport and physical education teach essential values and life skills including self-confidence, teamwork, communication, inclusion, discipline, respect and fair play. Sport and physical education also have psychological benefits such as reducing depression and improving concentration. Sport, physical education, play and recreation have a positive impact on child education. Physical education typically improves a child’s ability to learn, increases concentration, attendance and overall achievement. Young people learn better when they are having fun and are being active. Within schools, physical education is an integral component of quality education.
As the lead agency for sports-related activities within the United Nations, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has a key role to play in convening Governments to advance the cause of sport and physical education and to improve the general knowledge of the benefits of sport as a means to promote education in particular.
The skills and values learned through sport are especially important for girls, given that they have fewer opportunities than boys for social interaction outside the home and beyond family networks. Through sport, girls are given the chance to be leaders and improve their confidence and self-esteem. As girls begin to participate in sport, they also acquire new interpersonal links and access to new opportunities, allowing them to become more engaged in school and community life.
Giving young people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in physical education programmes at school and through community clubs is crucial given the additional benefits, among others, for social inclusion and self-esteem they receive from sport and physical activity.