Malta FA teams up with MCAST to study effects of five-day PE programme in schools

The Malta FA is continuing to work closely with the Ministry of Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation and other key stakeholders in the education sector to promote physical activity through projects targeting schoolchildren.

Encouraged by the successful introduction of the Fun Fit Football programme in primary schools last season, the Malta FA, through the Inħobb il-Futbol Foundation, has teamed up with MCAST to conduct a research on the potential benefits and effects a physical activity programme, spanning five days a week, would have for pupils and students.

Speaking at the launch of this project, held on Saturday at the Centenary Hall, Dr Angelo Chetcuti, the General Secretary of the Malta FA said: “Beyond the attention and publicity given to competitive football, the Malta FA is stepping up its commitment to act as a catalyst in fostering a sports culture from a young age as this is the foundation for development at every level in sports. This is also central to the strategy of the Association.

“The launch of this study titled Fun Fit Five is an important part of this commitment to encourage our children to do more physical activity. This initiative is only possible thanks to the resources and assistance the Malta FA receives through UEFA and FIFA assistance programmes.”

Photo courtesy of domenic aquilina

17,000 pupils participate in Fun Fit Football programme

“Research is a key component to sustain progress and I am convinced that this study will help us design better physical activity  programmes for children in schools while consolidating existing ones.

“This educational initiative complements the Fun Fit Football project launched last season in government primary schools across Malta and Gozo. Around 17,000 boys and girls took part in the Fun Fit Football sessions which, from this season, are being extended to church and private schools,” added Dr Angelo Chetcuti

Importance of physical education

Dr Clifton Grima, the Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation, said: “At present, the number of physical education lessons in Maltese schools varies. The Government is committed to increasing the time allocated to physical education and establish a minimum number of lessons. We want to move towards a model whereby the children have one physical education activity on a daily basis.”

The main aim of the longitudinal study, a type of correlational research that involves looking at variables over an extended period of time, is to gain an understanding of how a daily physical activity project in primary schools will affect the children’s academic, physical and well-being domains.

Fun fit five launch

Professor Joachim James Calleja, the CEO and Principal of MCAST, welcomed this initiative. “It’s imperative that this study helps the education sector to understand the challenges and benefits to improve the quality of life of our students. Our College will continue to offer its support to strengthen sports-related research.”

The Fun Fit Five study, encompassing three government schools in Pietà, Rabat and Żejtun, will be carried out by a research team comprising of four MCAST researchers – Dr Melanie Darmanin, Dr Renzo Kerr-Cumbo, Dr Matthew Muscat Inglott, and Mr Heathcliff Schembri.

The media conference was also addressed by Gareth Sciberras, the Chairman of the Inħobb il-Futbol who explained the Foundation’s mission and objectives, namely greater accessibility and increased participation in football, establishing a defined pathway from grassroots to elite football, and the consolidation of social responsibility initiatives.