The Athens 2004 education programme targeted all schoolchildren in primary and secondary education and represented an innovative educational process. Its objective was to initiate a strong volunteering movement that would cover all the facets of young people’s social life.
The philosophy of the programme was to link the schools to the local community and its institutions, emphasising the humanistic and ethical dimensions of Olympism. To do so, the programme aimed to attract and include all those involved in education and training, without distinction, to inspire and raise students’ awareness of sport and Olympism, and promote positive attitudes and values such as cooperation, empowerment, critical thinking and responsibility. A series of activities were implemented within the school environment promoting sport, culture and the Olympic Truce, combating social exclusion and promoting respect for multiculturalism.
Over 100 Greek and international scholars and researchers in various fields of knowledge collaborated, mostly on a voluntary basis, to compile the educational material for this programme, putting it into practice for the first time, resulting in an interdisciplinary approach to education and the connection between education and sport. The value of this approach lies not only in linking the ancient Olympic heritage with the modern world, but also in providing a pedagogical tool for promoting the cultural integration of all the world’s nations, which is a core aim of the Olympic Movement. The education programme was further extended through cooperation with the European Union, the IOC and the Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games Turin 2006.
The impact of the programme was felt beyond Greece: more than 12,000 free copies of the Athens 2004 Olympic Education Programme resource kit were sent to Canadian elementary schools by the Canadian Olympic Committee.