The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has launched a national education programme through which it hopes to promote the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to schoolchildren across Japan.
Drawing inspiration from the close relationship between education and sport at the heart of the Olympic Movement, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee (“Tokyo 2020”) has launched its very own nationwide education programme. As part of the initiative, Tokyo 2020 will give special certification to schools using the Olympic and Paralympic-related educational materials it produces and authorises.
Education is a core value of the modern Olympic Games, one that was dear to its founder, Pierre de Coubertin. Taking its cue from the beliefs that inspired him, Tokyo 2020 has launched the programme in a bid to engage young people right across Japan and spur their interest in the 2020 Games.
The programme, which goes by the name “Yoi Don!” (Japanese for “Get Set”), is backed by a website offering a range of free resources for teachers, including ideas for activities and projects, as well as films on Olympic and Paralympic values. Teachers will also be able to share their work and ideas and collaborate with each other through the site.
Tokyo 2020 is aiming to provide certification for schools in every prefecture of Japan by the time the Games take place, and will also invite participating schools to take part in a series of activities at the Olympics.
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Attending the launch event were Japanese Olympic weightlifter Hiromi Miyake and Paralympic wheelchair tennis player Yui Kamiji, who were joined by 600 students from Utase Junior High School in Chiba City, near Tokyo, which has already signed up for the programme.
A silver and bronze medallist at London 2012 and Rio 2016 respectively, Miyake had a message for her young audience: “The spectators at Rio 2016 cheered enthusiastically for all the athletes, regardless of their nationality. I was absolutely delighted to hear them cheering for me when I did well, and also when I didn’t do so well. In 2020, I’d like you to cheer for athletes from all around the world, not just for those from Japan.”
Kamiji, who won bronze at Rio 2016, added: “People really seemed to enjoy the Games in Rio. Some of them might not have been very familiar with the rules of some of the sports, but they enjoyed watching them anyway. At Tokyo 2020, I’d like you to have a good time first and foremost.”
Giving his views, Ryoichi Igawa, a third-grade student at Utase Junior High School, had this to say: “I felt inspired by what Ms Miyake said. She said it’s important to keep making an effort and challenging yourself until you succeed.”
The programme is not the first such initiative in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020. Last year, the Japanese capital’s local authority embarked on its own education drive to raise awareness of the upcoming Games among the city’s students, with more than 3,000 schools making use of Olympic- and Paralympic-related learning materials since then.
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Among them is Ochanomizu Elementary School in Tokyo, which has already rolled out its very own Olympic and Paralympic educational programme, giving its students a chance to broaden their cultural horizons.
Located in an area of the city that has a large Russian population and is home to a 19th-century Russian Orthodox church, the school reached out to the local Russian community and also paid a visit to the country’s embassy. As a result, its students had a chance to meet with Russian children and exchange views with them about their respective cultures, a coming-together very much in keeping with the spirit of the Olympic Games.