The three-year agreement (renewable on request of the parties), which was signed in the afternoon in MUIR's Sala della Comunicazione in the presence of Italian sporting champions and Olympic medal winners from Rio 2016 such as Elisa Di Francisca (fencing), Daniele Lupo (beach volleyball), Matteo Lodo and Giovanni Abagnale (rowing), promotes sports education in schools on a national level, encouraging the adoption of a healthy lifestyle to combat early school leaving and all forms of violence and bullying and enhancing the development of educating people about living within the law.
"The collaboration between CONI and MIUR began three years ago and we had a goal which became a project, Sport di Classe, to increase physical activity right from primary school", said the Minister. We are doing this not just to discover champions to win Olympic medals or step onto winners' podiums around the world, but to offer all the benefits that sports provides, in addition to health education, a healthy life style. These are key qualities. In these two and a half years we have achieved a lot and focused directly on a greater sports presence in Italian schools. We announced 1800 new positions for physical education teachers for middle and high schools and, with President Malagò, we started a project, and today this signed protocol for its implementation will allow us within two years to achieve our goal that all primary schools, educating children from 6 to 11 years old, will have at least two hours of physical activity on their timetables. It doesn't seem like a lot, but this small start means setting children on a path which for some will be to become a great talent and for others it will be to do some sport".
One of the Protocol's objectives is to support and implement play and movement in primary schools through the continuation of the national Sport di Classe project which started in the 2014-2015 academic year, partly thanks to the allocation of EUR 60 million provided by National Operational Programme funds 2014/2020.
A unique school sports portal will be activated for institutions, which will also be used for monitoring initiatives. MIUR and CONI will collaborate on developing tools to support top young athletes at secondary school and at University. Initiatives will also be launched for disseminating and communicating the educational values of sport. Alternative training courses in accordance with La Buona Scuola will be promoted, as part of the sports and events system and activities organised by CONI, at national and local level.
"7,000 primary schools have got involved, nearly half of all institutions, with 1.2 million pupils and 60,000 classes", continued Malagò. Thanks to the 60 million allocated from the next European Scheduling funds we are going to complete this project which will reach the rest in the next three years. In this country we must start realising that doing sport does not interfere with studying. Studying and work and studying and sport are two fundamental parts of life which must be combined. This signing is important and I am very happy that we managed to complete this part of the project within the year".
"When I became President of CONI", said Malagò, "there was no particular desire to look at sport in school, there was significant allocation of funds but it was necessary to stay on top of it day by day. It was an organisation which was focused on two things: school and social responsibility. Our goal was to make it possible for all primary classes to have the opportunity to do at least two or three hours of sport a week as quickly as we could. We have significantly increased the numbers – this year more than 40% of classes participated in Sport di Classe. Thank you to Simona Montevarchi Director of the National Operational Programme funds, who has made funds available to tackle the problems in the South, in particular in Campania and Sicily which are stars of the Italian sports system. I'm very happy, we are still far from the Anglo-American system but we are making huge strides. I am thinking of two great athletes: Federica Pellegrini and Pietro Mennea. Federica was discovered by the world of sports associations. Pietro, on the other hand, was discovered in school. But how many Menneas have we risked losing over the years and how many can we now find? We do not expect to replace physical education teachers with the concept of two hours in primary school, but today we feel that with the tutor dynamic we can at least compensate for the shortcomings that still exist. Increasing the amount of time adds even more value to the cultural aspect of sport".
He ended with: "'I have a dream' that in the next stage you can integrate this support we have given with the integration of physical education teachers. Thanks to the Ministry and thank you Stefania for your awareness, because until a few years ago this issue was not one of the country's priorities".
During the signing ceremony, presented by Andrea Lucchetta, two sets of equipment were presented: one to the Istituto Comprensivo Acquaroni Primary School in Rome (Tor Bella Monaca district), winner of the Sport di Classe values journey in 2015-2016, and one to the Dante Alighieri Secondary School in L'Aquila.