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Sport to Strengthen Child and Youth Education


In recent years, physical education has suffered cutbacks in quantity and quality in many schools. Research proves that physical education and sport play an important role in school life increasing school enrollment, retention and access to education and fostering academic achievement. The SDP IWG Report, Harnessing the Power of Sport for Development and Peace: Recommendations to Governments, made the following policy and programmatic recommendations which Member States, with SDP IWG support, are encouraged to implement:


Phase I:

  • Enhance the capacity of schools and teachers to effectively deliver sport and physical educational programmes.
  • Make universal child and youth access to physical education and sport and play an explicit policy objective in the context of national education, health, and sport policy frameworks.
  • Make child and youth development an integral component of all training programmes for physical education teachers and sport coaches.
  • Account for implementation challenges with disadvantaged communities and groups when developing sport and physical activity policies for children and youth.


Phase II:

  • Invest in research to determine the most important factors influencing physical activity within different child and youth target groups and design national strategies and programmes to address these factors.
  • Extend physical education, sport and play to all children, using strategies that include mandatory comprehensive, daily physical education for students in kindergarten through secondary school.
  • Adopt national physical activity guidelines for children and youth, and consider actively promoting them through multisectoral approaches that target schools, families, sport clubs, community organizations and municipal governments.



Phase I:

  • Engage Ministries of Education to work with schools and community sport partners to offer extracurricular physical activity programmes that address the needs and interests of all students. 
  • Design Sport for Development programmes to include all children and youth, with strategies to ensure the participation of girls, children with intellectual and physical disabilities, out-of-school children and youth, and those from impoverished and/or minority ethno-cultural communities.
  • Design programmes to engage parents in physical education instruction and in extracurricular or community sport and physical activity events.


Phase II:

  • Build mechanisms for effective planning and reflective action into all programmes.
  • Deliver health education courses in schools to help students acquire the knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and confidence needed to maintain a physically active lifestyle.
  • Evaluate school and community physical activity instruction, sport programmes, and facilities on a regular basis.
  • Ensure that a complementary range of developmentally appropriate, community-based sport and physical activity programmes are available for children and youth.
  • Develop simple, clear and practical resource materials on sport and child and youth development, together with age-appropriate sport and physical activity guidelines, for use by parents and community volunteers who may not have access to training programmes.



To view a briefing note containing background information on Sport to Strengthen Child and Youth Education, click here.

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