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UNESCO launches quality physical education documents

UNESCO launches quality physical education documents

UNESCO has launched three documents based on their new Quality Physical Education (QPE) policy project.

Documents include: 

  • Making the case for inclusive Quality Physical Education policy development: a policy brief;
  • How to influence the development of Quality Physical Education policy: a policy advocacy toolkit for youth;
  • The Quality Physical Education policy project: analysis of process, content and impact.

About QPE

Contrary to traditional physical education programmes, which take a “one size fits all” approach, quality physical education is grounded in the equality of opportunity for all students to access a well-balanced and inclusive curriculum.

QPE supports the acquisition of psychomotor, social and emotional skills, which define self-confident and resilient citizens. It also emphasizes the value of physical literacy as a key developmental milestone contributing to body ownership, physical competency and enjoyment in lifelong physical activity.

Why invest in QPE?

COVID-19 has spotlighted the value of good health and resilience (physical, mental, social and economic). Almost a quarter of the world’s population have an underlying health condition, which increases their vulnerability to the virus. Mental health issues have increased exponentially during the pandemic, particularly amongst youth, and physical inactivity can now be considered as a parallel pandemic, contributing to 5 million premature deaths annually.

Participation in quality physical education programmes improves physical health, decreases chronic mental health conditions and builds socio-emotional resilience. It also provides a high-impact/low-cost gateway to lifelong participation in physical activity across the lifespan. For these reasons, quality physical education represents a major component in UNESCO’s new COVID recovery flagship “Fit for Life,” which has been designed to respond to the immediate physical and mental health effects of the current health pandemic.

The 2021 QPE publications

The three new QPE publications are evidence-based and operationalize the findings of UNESCO’s Quality Physical Education Policy Pilot, which was implemented in four countries (Fiji, Mexico, South Africa and Zambia) from 2016 to 2018. The new publications complement the existing QPE resource package (see below), which was developed with a compact of partners including the European Commission, the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Nike, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The QPE Policy Pilot was deemed “one of the most remarkable and significant global initiatives in physical education of the last century” by a team of independent evaluators from the Institute for Sport and Development in South Africa. Using the QPE resource package, national stakeholders (from policy to practice) were able to make substantive revisions to PE policy frameworks and delivery systems.

Publications include:

  • Making the case for inclusive Quality Physical Education policy development: a policy brief: The evidence-based policy brief presents the case for investment in quality physical education (QPE). Content draws directly on findings from in-country interventions which demonstrate the value of inter-sectoral partnerships in QPE policy development and the delivery of low-cost/high-impact QPE programming, which stands to accelerate post-COVID recovery efforts. A series of practical recommendations are included for public and private stakeholders in the sport-education ecosystems, alongside resources to support the implementation of recommendations. Target audience: Policymakers, the sport movement, institutions and private companies with stakes in the sport, education and/or physical activity sectors.
  • How to influence the development of Quality Physical Education policy: a policy advocacy toolkit for youth: The toolkit is designed to support young people and youth organizations to advocate for and effectively contribute to the development of quality physical education policy. It offers general principles for successful policy advocacy that can be adapted based on what best suits different national contexts and policy development processes. The sections include an evidence-based rationale for youth policy engagement, tested techniques to inspire impact-oriented advocacy strategies and practical checklists to navigate physical education (PE) policy development processes. Target audience: Youth activists, youth organizations, grassroots sport and/or physical education enthusiasts, educators.
  • The Quality Physical Education policy project: analysis of process, content and impact: The Policy Project Analysis is a technical report that includes the QPE project’s background and rationale, the results of the policy revision processes in the four pilot country contexts, lessons learnt in-country and a global synthesis of national-level findings. The national level and comparative analysis were undertaken according to the project’s results framework and theory of change model which aligns with the 8 thematic areas of the Quality Physical Education Guidelines and is annexed to the QPE Policy Project Analysis. The report concludes with a series of practical recommendations to enrich and scale the policy revision project in additional country contexts. Target audience: Academics, policy-makers, practitioners in sport and/or physical education.


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Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 13:54