Among the several things that just make one wonder about Saudi Arabia is the ban on physical education for girls in state-run schools. The arguments against it, posed as religious, are purely cultural and very difficult to rationalize.

This may change, however, as Saudi Gazette reports. The Ministry of Education says that it will introduce PE for girls in all schools. While this promise was made earlier, in 2011, perhaps it will now actually take place. The World Health Organization seems to be encouraging the Saudi government to make the move. It, as well as Saudi citizens, have pointed out the manifold benefits that come from exercise and organized sports.

Education Ministry vows to introduce PE in girls’schools
Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — In a report to the Shoura Council, the Ministry of Education said it believes in the importance of physical education (PE) for both male and female students.

It also said that it will introduce PE classes in girls’ schools. The classes will take into consideration social traditions and conventions of Saudi society and will be in line with the fatwa issued in this regard by the Senior Board of Ulema. The ministry requested the Shoura Council to approve their recommendations to develop sports in schools.

In 2011, the ministry promised to upgrade the sports programs in boys’ schools and to start offering PE classes for girls as well. However, the girls in government schools are still waiting for the promises to materialize as their schools remain without any form of physical exercise classes.

On the other hand, most private schools for girls provide a wide range of physical activities for their students that are not just fun but also good for the body — including soccer, basketball, races, volleyball.

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