2.5 hours of physical activities per week in primary schools – Minister

Minister Owen Bonnici said that 2.5 hours of physical activity per week are recommended in each primary school.

The Education Minister disclosed this information when asked by Nationalist MP Robert Cutajar in Parliament what the allocated time for physical activities is in state primary and secondary schools.

In primary schools, it is recommended that there is at least a 30-minute physical activity every day, amounting to 2.5 hours of physical activities in a week. These can be organised by the PE teacher, by the class teacher, or can include sports activities organised in school and in sports complexes. Physical activities done during break time are also included in these 2.5 hours per week.

As for middle schools, Minister Bonnici said that Year 7 and Year 8 students have 3 lessons of 40 minutes each per week, amounting to a total of 2 hours. Those amongst these students who choose to follow the Sports Career Development Programme in Year 7 and Year 8 have 4 additional 40 minutes long lessons.

Students in Years 9, 10 and 11 in secondary schools have 2 lessons of 40 minutes each, meaning that they have PE for a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes per week. Those who opt for PE as one of their chosen subjects have an additional 4 lessons of 40 minutes each per week.

These numbers, of course, apply to when schools were functioning normally, before all teaching was transferred online due to the coronavirus pandemic. To help people stay in shape while staying at home, a website encouraging daily exercise was launched locally.

Having said that, statistics published by the National Statistics Office (NSO) back in March, indicated that in 2017, 25.5% of the Maltese population was obese, compared to the EU average of 14.9%. 33.6% of the population was classified as pre-obese (the same percentage as the EU average).