Values Education through 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?

© UNESCO / Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

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:

© UNESCO / Terre des Hommes - Ollivier Girard

Support the Sports 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), to develop a Values Education Through Sport Toolkit for Teachers that will be made available in 2017. This Education Partnership aims to embed sports values across school-based curricula.

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