EPAS co-organised with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia and the Planica National Sports Institute political conference “Tolerance and Diversity through Physical Education and Sport”. It took place on 19 and 20 November 2015 in Bled, Slovenia. The conference overall aim was to increase awareness on the role of physical education and sport in promoting/reaching diversity.
The conference program was very interactive adding some innovative approach through parallel workshops conducted using World Café method. The mentioned approach tend to lies on creating a special environment of small, flexible and changeable groups with methodology based on certain context of the particular topic followed by an opening question raised with encouragement for participants to take a brief and active part.
Especially, policy dimension theme raised a significant volume of debate. It started, as should any fruitful debate, with recognizing disbalance of normative framework and practical implementation. Decision makers tend to follow more reactive approach towards importance of Physical Education (PE) and sport on societal benefits of particular society. At the policy level, modernization approach should rely on existing international norms that provide adequate starting point: Recommendation Rec(1992)13 REV of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the Revised European Sport Charter, Code of Sports Ethics, Recommendation Rec(2001)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the prevention of racism, xenophobia and racial intolerance in sport, Recommendation Rec(2003)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on improving physical education and sport for children and young people in all European countries, and Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)13 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on ensuring quality education.
How to define our goals?
Focus on permanent promotion of diversity (suggestion of Mr. Villano) in the following way (tolerance will come along):
One of the questions that followed normative framework, were related on how to approach or to “use” sport and what kind of progress would be a measurable:
- Collective vs. individual progress,
- Event vs. learning progress.
In particular, this means that progress could be described as following:
- Participation (simple participation into structured physical activity),
- Individual development (serves as a talent identification),
- Learning values (civic education?) through PE and sport.
Fluid nature of sport is a vital segment in order to implement multidisciplinary/sectorial juncture, especially linking up sport (PE) and education. Sport Movement already incorporated principles of culture and education, especially placing Olympism as a platform for sport to serve to the global development of humankind and preserving human dignity. In that respect, research based approach is needed to create joint indicators for Pan-EU region in order to compare existing data and to produce targeted policies, programs-projects for specific region/country.
Considering intense level of globalization followed by commercialization of sport, the European (pyramidal) model of sport could actually help the process of rapprochement of sport (PE) and education (health as well!) with focus of the policy makers on linking up sport for all (school, university and sport recreation) to the educational and health system. In that respect, tailored funding approach should be incorporated based on sport as an educational health prevention tool within various authorities (from local/national to the European/international).
In the road ahead, accomplishing of the redefined use of sport, media could play a significant role, especially state-funded and social media on the one hand and inclusion of athletes as a role models (which has a historical roots).
“In order for 100 people to develop their bodies it is necessary for 50 to practice a sport, and in order for 50 to practice a sport it is necessary for 20 to specialize; but in order for 20 to specialize it is necessary for 5 to be capable of outstanding achievement.”
 In MÜLLER, N. (1986) /IOC (Eds.) Olympic Education: Pierre de Coubertin. Textes choisis. Vol.I « Révélation». Zurich, Hildesheim, New York, p. 436.