World Academy of Sport launches ‘Athlete Friendly Education Centre’ accreditation

Manchester, April 2, 2015: World Academy of Sport launches a new global initiative accrediting schools and universities as Athlete Friendly Education Centres.

Her Royal Highness Princess Sarvath El Hassan, Chair for the Board of Trustees and founder of the Amman Baccalaureate School in Jordan receives the inaugural World Academy of Sport plaque, accrediting the school as an Athlete Friendly Education Centre.

Today saw the official launch of the World Academy of Sport (WAoS) global initiative to accredit schools, universities and other education centres as Athlete Friendly Education Centres (AFEC). The Amman Baccalaureate School (ABS) in Jordan recently completed its accreditation visit by the WAoS and demonstrated its impressive sport programme and the way in which it supports the requirements of its high performing student athletes.

HRH Princess Sarvath El Hassan, Founder and Chair of the Amman Baccalaureate School stated “I am delighted that Mr Chris Solly, Director of the World Academy of Sport, is here with us today to award ABS as the first school in the Middle East to be accredited as a WAoS Athlete Friendly Education Centre. Having three Olympians amongst its graduates, it is only appropriate that we help pilot this new innovative programme. The school will be a lead school in providing flexibility and support to exceptional student athletes following the IB Diploma Programme, enabling them to combine their dedicated training schedules and commitments with their academic studies by allowing more flexibility in the time-lines for the completion of the IB Diploma Programme.”

The AFEC initiative has been a key feature on the WAoS International Advisory Board agenda over the past few years as industry debate has been sought in its development. The accreditation is based on a defined criteria which assesses the Centres ability to understand and service the requirements of high performing student athletes. This institutional approach to assisting student athletes balance their academic, sport and personal lives is increasingly being addressed at universities in various countries around the world, however is unique as a global initiative at the high school level.

The AFEC criteria used to assess schools and universities has not only been debated by the WAoS International Advisory Board but also as a basis for advice provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to young athletes and parents when selecting an athlete friendly school. Throughout discussions in the development of the AFEC criteria, inclusion and accessibility for student athletes was considered as an important factor. This is to ensure that as the AFEC network grows current and aspiring competitive athletes, be they national team members, Olympians or Paralympians, will have better access to the highest standard of education that is sensitive to their needs.

Mr Frank Fredericks, WAoS IAB Member and IOC Member stated “For many years the IOC has worked proactively to promote the importance of athletes maintaining education as they compete on the world stage. To be able to support and work with the WAoS and the IB on this initiative is extremely exciting and truly innovative. We look forward to the many lives this will positively impact in the coming years and the network of schools and universities it will bring together.”

An important partner and central to the current group of schools also being accredited today is the International Baccalaureate (IB). Over the past several years the WAoS and IB have sought to develop a framework which addresses this important issue facing student athletes. These schools are receiving their AFEC accreditation and as such joining an IB Pilot Project in partnership with WAoS to allow student athletes to complete the IB Diploma Programme in a period of up to 4 years.

Chris Solly, WAoS Director stated “It is a pleasure to be here today at the ABS to recognise the work that the school has achieved to date and welcome it to this pioneering project. For athletes committed to their sport, it is sometimes a struggle and sacrifice for which either sport or school must take the lead. We aim to be able to work with schools and universities throughout the world over time through this initiative ensuring that sacrifices which athletes have had to make to achieve their goals in both school and sport are more streamlined and manageable, whilst maintaining the highest sporting and academic performance.”

“Through such an initiative we hope athletes will be able to achieve a better life balance, be better prepared to make important life decisions and ultimately able to choose their life direction as they transition to competition retirement from their sport.”

Schools interested in applying to become an AFEC should contact Lin Zhang at the World Academy of Sport.

About World Academy of Sport

The World Academy of Sport is the world’s leading educational partner to International Sporting Federations and their member constituents worldwide. The Academy offers a wide range of educational programmes with a global reach for sport and event participants from athletes and event organizers to administrators and managers.

It has established specific education partner academies with International Sport Federations representing over 1,200 national federations, providing tailored education for their members, including:
• International Basketball Federation (FIBA)
• International Ski Federation (FIS)
• World Rugby
• International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
• International Netball Federation (INF)
• International Cricket Council (ICC)
• International Hockey Federation (FIH)
• World Badminton Federation (WBF)
• United World Wrestling.

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