Relevance of olympism education and sport-for-development programmes in South African schools

Cora Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The phasing out of physical education (PE) in South African public schools in the 1980s has left a void relating to the relative inability to deliver on strategic outcomes of government departments. Contemporary Life Orientation (LO) and PE curricula and practices in public schools (especially those in impoverished communities) rely on external implementing agencies for delivery. Global agencies, such as the International Olympic Committee and international sport federations deliver on mega sport event legacy programmes, often through school-based programmes. Current sport-for-development and Olympic-related educational practices in search of a meaningful PE model based on a human justice framework that will foster optimal physical activity participation opportunities for all in different settings is examined. A Foucauldian lens of governmentality provides a conceptual framework for a multi-agency model of good governance, and illuminates crucial insights in terms of how sport, as a dominant paradigm, perpetuates a persuasive framework for neoliberal thinking and practices. Many such practices are entrenched in competitive sport and are perpetuated by the sport ethic. Some key questions remain since they relate to the necessity for constructing relevant PE curricula and models that can leverage global content and mega sport event legacies in an integrated and sustainable way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalSouth African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Olympism education
  • Physical education
  • Schools
  • Sport-for-development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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