Atle Hetland When the Norwegian four-time gold medal winner Johann Olav Koss went home after the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer in 1994, there was no time for him to rest on his laurels for speed skating achievements, and no time to complete his medical degree either. Instead Johann established Olympic Aid, which later became Sports for All, and eventually Right to Play. He was a visionary then, as he is today. He wanted to contribute to creating a healthier and safer world through the power of sports and play. He wanted to help improve the lives of children in the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using sports and play for development and peace. And he wanted to create positive values in all of us; pupils, teachers, parents, colleagues, and community members. Education is not only knowledge and skills. It is also social and individual values. We should learn the right things and feel good about ourselves. Too often, the education systems create losers. They should create winners. Candidates should be proud and go out into this world with confidence, knowing that they are OK and possess the right values, or rather, good values. Right to Play has coined the slogan, Look after yourself - Look after one another. In this article, I shall use Right to Play as an example of peda-gogical thinking that can help create good values in children and youth. That is needed all over the world, not least in Pakistan in this difficult time. The New Year has already begun with the month of Muharram, according to the Muslim Calendar. One of my wishes for the New Year would be that we become more confident and comfortable in our own values and, at the same time, that we become more tolerant and understanding towards others. It is my New Years Resolution that I, too, can learn positive values and become a better human being. In Pakistan, Right to Play, or RTP for short, has had projects for close to 10 years, overseen by a country office for the last three to four years, focusing on communities affected by the devastating earthquake in 2005, and Afghan refugees and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) after the militant conflicts in Swat and the border areas with Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009. No less than some 55,000 school children, local youth, teachers and coaches take part in the RTP innovative training programmes, with equal distribution between male and female participants. Recently, I met RTPs Country Manager Iqbal Jatoi, who spoke with enthusiasm about the values his organisation tries to teach. He says that he is not a sportsman, but he claims he goes for a long walk everyday. His background is in anthropology and education, not in sports. RTP mainly uses sports, as a tool to reach other goals. Sports and games shall help develop positive attitudes, values and life skills. RTP is not a sports organisation focusing on competitions and sports achievements in themselves. That can also be useful, but its objectives are broader and sports and games become tools to reach the broader goals. RTP has developed quite detailed teaching materials for teachers and coaches, and shorter books and booklets for the general participants. Much of the learning takes place using interactive teaching methods, in addition to plays and games. Each year RTP celebrates the United Nations Days for Peace, Tolerance, Human Rights, and other days and weeks taking up other relevant issues, thus focusing on global as well as local issues and topics. RTP celebrates local days, too, such as Pakistans Independence Day on August 14. In Pakistan, there is greater need than ever for inculcating peaceful thinking in children, youth and adults, Jatoi told me. The schools are bearers of a culture of values, knowledge and skills, be it government schools, private schools, madrassahs or other religious schools. The schools do not only teach us content, they also teach us how to relate to each other, how to live and work together. The cultural learning in all schools, and the schools for refugees and IDPs, must ensure emphasis on values, and teach by example. We must make the pupils realise that all pupils are valuable and unique, be they academically gifted or not, be they poor or rich, handicapped or able-bodied, girls or boys. The schools and the teachers must show the pupils what is right and what is wrong, discuss ideals and values, and also help explain mistakes and defeat, in sports and in other fields. This can help give direction out of crises and conflicts, for example, after the floods this year. In RTP, they also try to develop a sense of joy in physical activity and in natures grandeur. Children and youth should learn to see and appreciate the beauty around them - and in themselves - even if the outsiders may not see it. And we should learn about national and local traditions, the domestic history with its distinctive features. Yet, we should also be open to cultural and religious diversity and not blindly be proud only of our indigenous history - or our own sports achievements, or whatever fields it may be. RTPs leadership training is a cornerstone in the organisations activities. In Pakistan, RTP has trained about 100 coaches and leaders. Many courses have been held in Abbottabad, Peshawar, Mardan and Quetta, and some in Murree and Islamabad. Sometimes, coaches and trainers attend courses and meetings abroad. In future, other locations may be added to cater for the Afghan refugees, IDPs and flood victims where they live. In the longer run, RTPs detailed, innovative training programmes can be included in pre-service courses at teacher training colleges, and in in-service course for teachers and head teachers. The Pakistani Ministry of Education has shown interest in RTPs materials and it is likely that they will use some of them, or borrow ideas and elements for the teachers of colleges and schools. Obviously, not all is new in RTPs materials, but it seems that the way that the positive aspects are taught can give guidance to other educational institutions. This is, perhaps, the main reason why I used RTP as an example in this article. I did not do it to advertise RTP, but I did it so that we can learn from their work. Worldwide, RTP has 23 country offices in the developing countries, which are implementing projects and programmes. Most of the fund-raising activities are carried out in a dozen of countries in the West, including Norway, the founders home country. The head office is not in Norway, it is in Toronto, Canada, certainly also suitable for a winter sports enthusiast, who gained his gold medals in ice-skating. Although managing an organisation like RTP can easily become all-consuming, Johann Olav Koss has recently managed to complete his own university degree in medicine, at an age of about 40. Is the CEO and RTP competitive? Yes, I think so. But then our world is competitive and we all need skills and values to cope and live more peacefully together in the real world. Still, I dont like that too much emphasis is placed on competitiveness. If RTP is to live up to its own slogan, Look after yourself - Look after one another, I think that other values than business-like competition must be emphasised. Yet, this is a minor reservation. Let us learn from all the other things that RTP can teach us. If RTPs pedagogical methods and materials can make schools better places, more positive learning institutions, I find it important that we study what they do. After all, learning positive values and becoming better human beings, is no less than paramount to all of us - and the children are our future. The writer is a senior Norwegian social scientist currently based in Islamabad. Email: atlehetland@yahoo.com