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13 Jun 2008
IOC News

Olympic education: a lasting benefit for China’s schoolchildren

Countdown to Beijing 2008: today on education and the Olympic Games.
The world’s largest-ever Olympic education programme is being undertaken in schools throughout China, ensuring the Beijing Games leave a lasting legacy for the country’s young generation. Embracing the Olympic spirit and values, it underscores the Olympic Charter’s first principle, which states: “Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
Olympics’ unprecedented influence on education, reaching 400 million children
The programme, launched by the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) with China’s Education Ministry and National Olympic Committee (NOC), is reaching 400 million children by integrating Olympic education into the curriculum of over 400,000 schools. Teachers are passing on the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, while textbooks highlight the history of the Olympic Games, Olympic sports and the Olympic Movement’s contribution to international peace and friendship. Foreign-language speech contests have also helped promote Olympism in schools.
Schools forge international friendships
A key plank has been the creation of Olympic Education Model Schools, to acknowledge institutions which have set the benchmark in providing Olympic education for their pupils. Since the December 2005 launch, some 556 elementary and secondary schools have been given the honour, almost one-third of them in Beijing. Another element is an initiative entitled “Heart-to-Heart”, through which over 200 Beijing schools have “adopted” sister schools in countries represented by an NOC, to share ideas and forge international friendships.
Support for overseas athletes
During the Beijing Games, the city’s Heart-to-Heart schools will greet their partner NOC delegation in the Team Welcome Ceremony at the Olympic Village and support its athletes at competition sessions. NOC delegations will also visit their Beijing partner schools. One group of Greek students performed a Chinese and Greek Folk Sports Show with their Beijing counterparts for VIPs including the IOC President when they visited their Heart-to-Heart sister facility, the Beijing No. 4 High School.
Sports arena like a classroom
Jacques Rogge told the pupils: “The sports arena is like a classroom. There we learn to live together, in society; there we learn solidarity and friendship; there we learn respect for others: whether one is a boy or girl, short or tall, young or old, from Asia, Africa, Europe, America or Oceania. Sport is all these things. And it is also health.” Li Binghua, Executive Vice-President of BOCOG, added his support, observing: “This initiative will leave a high-level educational legacy to China.”
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