There are huge links between education and sport. This can be anything from the participation in sport as physical education being part of the national curriculum in the UK to the education of various issues through the medium of sport. Such issues can include both racism and the growing problem of obesity.
The European Year of Education through Sport
What was the European Year of Education through Sport?
The European Year of Education through Sport was held in 2004 with the aim to raise awareness about the potentially beneficial links between education and sport.
Each year the European Union has a special year which is dedicated to a particular issue. In 2004 it was the year of Education through Sport.
European Union involvement in Sport
Prior to the year of Education through Sport a survey was undertaken which showed that just under half of those European Union citizens who took part in the poll said that they practiced sport or took part in some kind of sporting activity at least once a week and that a high percentage of them felt that more could be achieved by education through sport.
Prior to the year of Education through Sport it was felt that there was not enough links between educational systems in the European Union and sports organisations in their country.
The projects through the European Year of Education through sport were aimed specifically at promoting the positive values of sport through the amateur levels of sport.
However, links were built with the various international professional sporting events that were happening throughout Europe that year for example the Ice Hockey World Championships, Euro 2004 and with particular importance the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Greece – the fact the biggest sporting event was being held in Europe was instrumental in promoting education through sport.
Was there funding made available for sport through the European Year of Education through Sport?
The countries which were eligible for funding under the European Year of Education through Sport were the EU 25 plus Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
What is meant by the EU 25?
The EU 25 is the original 25 European Union Member States.
What were the key aims of the European Year of Education through Sport?
The core aim of the European Year of Education through Sport was to raise awareness in the European Union Member States which were participating in the initiative of the three following aspects:
The different aspects of sport, which are as follows:
- Promoting a healthy lifestyle
- The positive values associated with sport, which are as follows:
- Team spirit
- Fair play
- Strength of character
- The links between education and sport, such as:
- The links between educational institutions and sports organisations
- The social inclusion of disadvantaged persons
- Voluntary activities
- Pupil mobility
The European Year of Education through Sport has had a huge impact upon the European Union’s involvement in sport through educating the citizens of the European Union Member States of the educational requirements enshrined in the European Sports Charter.
Which European Union body coordinated the project?
The European Year of Education through Sport was coordinated through the European Commission’s Sport Unit – The Director General for Education and Culture.
The Sports and Education Programmes
The Sports and education programmes were led by a particular European Union Member State with each having a specific set of aims which were classified as either Community-wide measures or measures of a Community interest which were on a local, regional, national or transnational level.
This ensured that all aspects of education and sport which may apply to the whole of the community or just to certain Member States were covered.
Was the project considered a success?
Following the conclusion of the project an independent assessment was undertaken in which it was found that 1643 applications were submitted by different European Union Member States in response to the calls for proposals.
161 of these projects were financed which included ten Community Projects – projects with participants from more than 8 European Union Member States.
It was however, felt that better links with other Community polices such as combating obesity or the integration of persons with disabilities could possibly have been established.
Recommendations were also made for conferences and working groups where the world of Sport and EU Member States can debate sports role in the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups.
Building on the achievements of the European Year of Education through Sport
Following the European Year of Education through sport the European Commission vowed to build on the success of the initiative by establishing the following:
- Increasing the knowledge at European Union level of the place of sport and physical activity in education
- Raising awareness of the importance of physical activity in reversing obesity trends
- Raising awareness of the mutual benefits of closer co-operation for education and sport
- Increasing the co-operation with the sports movement on such issues as volunteering, participation in sport for women, the fight against racism, education and protection of young athletes
- Improving the recognition of qualifications across the European Union
- Facilitating mobility in sport-related professions