The World Academy of Sport (WAoS) delivers learning programmes for sports and event participants - athletes, managers, administrators, officials and coaches - through a series of tailored educational programmes.
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Increasing access to high quality international education for competitive athletes
24 June 2013

THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS 24 June, 2013. An initiative between the International Baccalaureate and The World Academy of Sport, announced in September 2012, was today made official. The project will provide competitive athletes across the world with the opportunity to gain a first class education whilst advancing their sporting careers.  Dr. Paul van Oijen from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in The Netherlands, and a number of embassy officials, joined IB Director General, Jeffrey Beard, and Director of the World Academy of Sport, Chris Solly, for the signing.

"You can only ride for so long on your medals. Athletes can find it very hard to integrate after sports careers," said Olympic sprinter Frank Fredericks. He was speaking at the launch of the initiative in September 2012 at the London Paralympics. Previous research from the WAoS[1] has highlighted the negative perceptions held by athletes and parents of educational options, particularly in relation to a lack of flexibility in the delivery of educational programmes. Evidence has also shown that athletes are often willing to defer their post 16 education in order to commit to the training required to move forward their athletic career – but more often than not, the numbers of athletes who actually return to education after their sporting career is compromised.  As a result, career progression is often an issue, and finding a way for athletes to have a viable career path with long term “job security” is a concern for the sports industry.

The World Academy of Sport will provide expertise to schools through Athlete Friendly Education Centres for schools to receive support and ensure competitive athletes remain in education. At the same time, students will follow the IB’s Diploma Programme and individual courses to gain a flexible, internationally recognised qualification. A more bespoke vocational sports pathway through the IB’s Career-related Certificate will also be developed between the two organisations.

The initiative is supported by a number of high profile members from within the international sporting community, including IOC Member and former Chair of the IOC Athletes Commission Frank Fredericks and IPC Athlete Ambassador, Katrina Webb. The project is also fully endorsed by the World Academy of Sport International Advisory Board which includes several International Sport Federation Presidents and IOC members.

At the launch of the initiative, Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, said “With this project, we want to ensure that future athletes have the education, skills and knowledge to enable them to thrive beyond their athletic careers, and to continue to be successful role models and ambassadors for their sport.”

Jeffrey Beard, Director General, International Baccalaureate, adds: “Increasing access to a widely recognized and credentialed international education is an important component for future success, regardless of the careers these young athletes pursue. This unique project with the World Academy of Sport will enable athletes to benefit from the global educational opportunities provided by the IB's Diploma Programme, preparing them for success in their sporting careers and beyond. I also hope to see the IB Career-related Certificate being offered in the near future.”

For further information:

About the International Baccalaureate

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a not-for profit foundation, which offers four high quality and challenging international educational programmes for a worldwide community of schools. For 45 years, IB programmes have gained a reputation for rigour and high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century, and for developing citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Currently, more than 1 million IB students attend over 3,600 schools in 145 countries. To learn more, visit

About the World Academy of Sport

The World Academy of Sport is world sport's education partner, delivering educational programmes and creating sustainable long term partnerships for the benefit of sport and partner organisations worldwide.

The Academy offers a range of educational programmes with a global reach for sport and event participants - athletes, event organisers, administrators and managers - creating a centre of excellence to deliver world class education for the global sport community. Through its various partnerships the WAoS runs programmes in many regions and countries throughout the world.

It has established specific education partner academies with several international sport federations representing over 800 national federations to provide further tailored education for their member constituents around the world including:

  • International Basketball Federation (FIBA)
  • International Ski Federation (FIS)
  • International Rugby Board (IRB)
  • International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
  • International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA)
  • International Cricket Council (ICC)
  • International Hockey Federation (FIH)

Additional information can be found at

[1] World Academy of Sport Student Athlete Research October 2005  - Qualitative findings based on 20 in depth interview with students athletes and their parents