You know that I am a massive sport enthusiast. You also know (I mentioned it here and in other ways here ) that what most interests me about sport is its educational and social role. I believe that some of the values that lie at the heart of sport (respecting the rules, merit and team spirit) would also be the perfect fundamental values of a just and civil society.
It would appear that I am not alone in thinking this way. In fact, Francesco Profumo, the Minister for Education recently announced a project (seemingly already at an advanced stage) to create a specialist Sport High School, something that has so far only been tried experimentally by a very few establishments. It would be an extension of the scientific high school, which will be responsible for improving its own educational content for those who like to attribute to sport not only a recreational, but also an educational and – in some cases – a professional function.
The actual goal is not, as some may think, simply that of preparing future athletes, but rather, creating a greater interest in physical education and setting up a school for the management of sporting activities. This is an idea that is not so far removed from the thinking behind the Masters in Sports Management that Ghirada, the city of sport created by the Benetton Group, launched in 2005.
According to the Minister, the next educational year will be spent preparing teachers and the following year, 2013-14, will see the first of the new courses. Not long to wait therefore. While looking forward to more details of the educational content, I think the acknowledgement of the role of sport within a range of educational options is important.
I’d like to end with a rather more general reflection. We all know that in order to look to the future with optimism we need to start with education. So what I’d like to suggest is this. In selecting the teachers that are going to teach our children, we should adopt the same criteria as that used for selecting athletes: selection on merit and retaining one’s place on merit.