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Research, analyse and critically examine the (European Union's) European Year of Education through Sport 2004, illustrating your answer with examples from European countries.

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Introduction

Research, analyse and critically examine the (European Union's) European Year of Education through Sport 2004, illustrating your answer with examples from European countries. Sport has been a major arena for the display of popular European values ever since the very first recorded Ancient Olympics were held at Olympia in 776 B.C. The Olympics of Ancient Greece and subsequently the modern Olympics gave rise to the ideology of Olympism, a way of life that embodies through sport these qualities and values. In the years that have passed, the changing face of sport has modelled and re-modelled itself in line with contemporary trends and technological advancements, but the core beliefs have remained the same. Whilst even then in its infancy, sport had to deal with bribery and corruption, with politics and commercialism; the same evils that have plagued the sporting world at the highest level ever since; sport has survived, and the ethos of sport and Olympism continue to be heralded as the archetype of health, vitality and virtue. In September 2003 a 'Eurobarometer' survey was carried out, in order to establish the general public feelings towards education through sport. The results it returned were unswerving in their support. Almost two-thirds of the survey sample cited team spirit as the most important sporting value, whilst 70% were in favour of a harder crackdown on doping in sport. ...read more.

Middle

2005 will not be the 'European Year of Education through Sport, II'. Surely the priority must be to lay down the foundations for future and continuing education through sport throughout the continent? Any 'continuing legacy' or suchlike goes unmentioned in the aims and objectives sections of EYES on both the official website and InfoBase. The focus seems to be on getting as many people interested in sport as possible, then assuming their enthusiasm will remain at a constant level without further promotion. It implies a level of naivety in terms of the EU's awareness of the seemingly obvious expendable novelty value that can be associated with most short-term governmental and pan-European events of this ilk. There is no function in place to prevent the project from slipping into history without having made any real long-term difference to the education of the public through continuing participation in sport. The official UK website (www.eyes2004.org) contains information for schools on how to get involved, news updates on EYES projects and media releases, and online challenges for schools to take part in by inputting results from different activities into a database to create 'live, 'on-line' competition between schools' (http://www.eyes2004challenges.org/splash.htm) This attempts to address the 'access' aim of the website; whether or not it does this remains to be seen. In my personal experience, the efforts of the British arm of the project so far appear to have been poor, especially on the promotional side. ...read more.

Conclusion

in Dublin; Basic skills and Education through Sport (Hull); Together in Sport for growing up (Italy); the true results of EYES' success in schools may take some time due to the enormous amount of feedback required to get a realistic overview of all events and projects. The apparent lack of continuation in terms of the aims and objectives of the initiative can be put down to one of two things. One is that the EU are banking on the continuing success of a one-off push into sport, ignoring the possibility of a speedy return to the low participation rates of recent years. The more likely explanation is that, whilst the EU realise that the effects of EYES may wear off as the future years go by, it will be more effective, given the comparatively small budget available, to concentrate on getting the message out there to as many people as possible this year than to try to implement long-running programmes with less public awareness. Ultimately the deciding factor on the success or failure of EYES, as with most things, will be the budget. Even if, as suggested, the money is directed in the correct manner with minimal amounts of wastage, it is still a relatively insignificant sum on an international scale. I would predict that for there to be any lasting impression left by EYES on the future education through sport in this continent, the amount of funding behind the initiative would have to be substantially larger. Whether or not this is the case, only time will tell. ...read more.

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