How should universities play the game? Role of the academic sector in sport for development and peace in South Africa
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Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) refers to the use of sport to promote varied outcomes on and beyond the playing field. It encompasses a range of initiatives and stakeholders including multilateral agencies, governments and civil society. While multiple benefits may be achieved through sport, critics cite a lack of rigorous research, monitoring and evaluation and urge against oversimplified notions of sport. The academic sector, with expertise in research, teaching and learning, is well positioned to fill this gap. This study contributes to SDP as an emerging field by exploring the role(s) of the academic sector, in particular universities. The study focuses on South Africa, with an overview of the policy environment and institutional arrangements for Sport and Recreation. The study analyses the way in which various South African universities are engaged in SDP. Qualitative methods of data collection were used, including key informant interviews, focus group discussions, desk-top review and document analysis. The study found academic institutions can strengthen research, teaching and learning in SDP and help inform evidence-based practice and policy. Better collaboration is needed within and between the academic sector, government and civil society as well as an improved North-South exchange for universities.