So….why is QPE key?


In 2013, UNESCO joined forces with the North Western Counties Physical Education Association (NWCPEA) to undertake a global survey and literature review on the situation of physical education. The fundamental aim of the research was to determine a set of benchmark indicators on Quality Physical Education (QPE), which could be framed as core aspects and be adopted and adapted for global implementation.

The research concluded that there are instances of government level policy commitment to physical education, but while some governments have committed themselves through legislation to school physical education provision, others have been either slow or reticent in translating this into action through actual implementation and assurance of quality of delivery.

1. Persistent gaps between PE policy and implementation;

2. Continuing deficiencies in curriculum time allocation;

3. Relevance and quality of the PE curriculum;

4. Quality of initial teacher training programmes;

5. Inadequacies in the quality and maintenance of facilities;

6. Continued barriers to equal provision and access for all;

7. Inadequate school-community coordination.


Key Findings

Participation in QPE, as part of a rounded syllabus, can support the development of:

  • Responsible, active global citizens
  • Skills and values, such as critical, creative and innovative thinking, problem-solving, decision making, empathy, interpersonal/communicative skills, respect, tolerance, and intercultural understanding, which are required to solve 21st century challenges
  • Physically literate pupils with the knowledge and confidence required for academic achievement
  • Lifelong engagement in physical activity

The cost of not investing:

  • Physical inactivity contributes to 3.2 million premature deaths annually and accounts for 6% of global mortality;
  • It is estimated that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will become the major cause of death in Africa by 2030;
  • Physical inactivity causes more deaths than smoking;
  • 80.3% of 13-15 year olds worldwide do less than 60 minutes of exercise per day;
  • Children in early care and education spend only 2-3% of time being active.

Download the final report of the Worldwide Survey of Physical Education


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