NOC. By "adopting" a specific NOC's country, Chineseschools in the Heart-to-Heart programme willencourage their students to share ideas andexperiences with sister schools and Olympic athletesin that country. Academic programmes are beingstructured to allow Chinese students to focus on theircountry. This means learning about the country'sgeography, language, culture, flag and even itsnational anthem. During the Olympic Games, childrenwill be invited to meet with their school's designatedcountry's Olympic team athletes and attend the flag-raising ceremony for that country in the OlympicVillage. In all these ways, the Heart-to-Heartprogramme will promote the values of internationalfriendship and respect. The Olympic education programme extendsbeyond the classrooms and playgrounds to reachmore young people (and adults) across the countryvia the media. Today, for example, a number ofspecial education columns appear in newspapersacross China, including China Daily, on a daily orweekly basis. Television broadcasts and websitesdevoted to the teaching of Olympism round out theefforts to educate as many of China's young people as possible. According to Jacqueline Barrett, the IOC's Head of Bid City Relations and OCOG Liaison forCulture & Education, "Everything about the Olympiceducation programme in China is breathtaking - fromits sheer ability to reach 400 million school-agedchildren to the speed with which its comprehensiveinitiatives have been put in place to the enormity ofthe impact it will have on China." The positive legacyof the Olympic education programme is alreadyapparent. At the most recent World Forum on Sport,Olympic Education and Culture, which was held inBeijing, participants were able to witness Olympiceducation in action by visiting two Olympic EducationModel Schools. Through skits and interactions withobservers, the children clearly demonstrated their joyand excitement about the pending Olympic Gamesand the opportunity to learn about and shareexperiences with people from around the world. As MsBarrett observed, "Olympic education has opened theminds of these children to their place in theinternational community and to the importance ofOlympic values in the world. These children's liveshave been changed forever."Zhenliang He, Chairman of the IOC Commissionfor Culture and Olympic Education, agrees. "TheBOCOG, Education Ministry and China's NOC havecome together to introduce 400 million Chinese44OLYMPIC REVIEWwww.olympic.orgOLYMPIC VALUESOlympic education in a host city and country. And theyprovide a backdrop against which Olympic GamesOrganising Committees can deliver programmes thatposition sport as a vehicle to build a better and more peaceful world. Nowhere is the influence of the Olympic Games on education more pronounced than in China, wherethe 2008 Beijing Olympic Games OrganisingCommittee (BOCOG), in partnership with the country'sEducation Ministry and the National OlympicCommittee (NOC), has launched an initiative aimed atproviding Olympic education to approximately 400million young people through more than 400,000schools across the country. The programme is ascomprehensive in its scope as it is ambitious in itsscale. It comprises several distinct components, eachof which helps reinforce the link between sport andthe harmonious development of man and mankind. One component of the programme integratesOlympic education with the academic curriculum ofschools in China. BOCOG, the Education Ministry andthe NOC have organised a number of training sessions to educate teachers on the Olympic valuesand to provide guidance on how to incorporateOlympism into the classroom setting. Currently,BOCOG is hosting approximately two training seminarsper month in various locations in China. This pace oftraining is expected to continue throughout 2007. Inaddition, a series of textbooks has been created anddistributed to 800,000 students (see sidebar, nextpage). These textbooks - and the classroom activitiesthey support - introduce students to the history of theOlympic Games, the various Olympic sports and therules of play, Olympic symbols and the role of theOlympic Movement as a contributor to internationalpeace and friendship. Importantly, the materials alsoemphasise the principles of Olympism and the "OneWorld, One Dream" motto of the 2008 OlympicGames. Photography, painting, poetry, calligraphy andforeign-language speech contests have been designed to further promote the Olympic values inChina's schools and help maintain the students'momentum of interest in Olympism and cross-culturalunderstanding. Since the launch of the Olympiceducation programme in 2005, BOCOG, the EducationMinistry and the NOC have recognised 556elementary and secondary schools as "OlympicEducation Model Schools". From tens of thousands of schools that applied for this prestigious distinction,these 404 secondary and 152 elementary schoolswere ultimately selected as the best in providingOlympic education to their young people. Of the 556Olympic Education Model Schools, approximately 200are located in Beijing or provinces that will hostcompetitions during the Olympic Games in 2008. Theothers are spread evenly across the country.The second component of the Olympic educationprogramme in China involves engaging young people in sport directly. As in many countries, anemphasis on helping students master academicsubjects and prepare for exams has reduced theamount of time schools have devoted to physicaleducation in recent years. Olympic education hasrevitalised the schools' physical educationprogrammes and generated great interest in extra-curricular athletic programmes. In advance ofthe Olympic Games, young people across China arebeing exposed to a number of new sports and, in the process, the concepts of fair play and striving to do one's best. Another component of Olympic education in Chinais the "Heart-to-Heart" initiative. This uniqueprogramme, which traces its roots to the 1998Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, will soonlink 203 schools in and around Beijing to schools andathletes within a specific country represented by anLeft and rightChildren in Chinashow theirenthusiasm andexcitementabout thepending OlympicGames in theircountry
www.olympic.orgOLYMPIC REVIEW45OLYMPIC VALUESchildren to the power and strength of the Olympicvalues, Olympic history and cross-culturalunderstanding. In the short term, the Olympiceducation programme is satisfying China'stremendous appetite for information and educationrelated to Olympism and generating even greaterenthusiasm amongst Chinese young people for sportand the Olympic Games. In the long term, we believethe true value of the Olympic education programmewill be reflected in a generation of world citizenscommitted to being physically active and contributing to a better world through friendship,respect and excellence."The ongoing challenge of the Olympic Movementis to make the education of young people throughsport as relevant today as it was when Pierre deCoubertin founded the International OlympicCommittee on this principle over 100 years ago. TheMovement has a social responsibility to teach othershow to respect themselves and one another, how tostrive for excellence in all that they do and, perhapsabove all else, how to build a better world throughpeace and friendship. Organising Committees of futureOlympic Games will almost certainly look to theOlympic education initiatives under way in China as amodel for achieving these goals and ensuring that theOlympic Movement remains, above all else, aneducational movement. ?OLYMPIC EDUCATIONBOCOG, the Education Ministry and the ChineseNOC have distributed the following academicmaterials to 800,000 students: ?Primary School Olympic Reader for years 1-3.This book presents information in a clear,story-based format with numerous pictures to keep the children's attention. ?Primary School Olympic Reader for years 4-6.This book caters to an older elementary age group and presents information via language that is more complex, interactive exercises and a section dedicated to the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. ?Secondary School Olympic Reader. Although the subject matter is generally the same as in the other readers, this textbook provides more detail on the history of the Olympic Movement, as well as the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.