The King Abdullah II Award for Physical Fitness is designed to encourage physical fitness among students as an integral component of good health and intellectual development. Students aged 9-16 throughout the country are eligible to participate. Those who do are encouraged to boost their physical fitness through an hour of athletic activity each day, five times weekly for six weeks. Participants may exercise individually or in a group and must document their daily routines. At the end of the six-week period, they are invited to test their physical abilities in five activities – curl-ups, shuttle run, sit and reach, push-ups and endurance – against standardised benchmarks. A committee (comprising the school principal, physical education teacher, an IT teacher, an individual in charge of school health and another student) evaluates each participant's performance. Three levels of achievement are awarded.
Objectives of the award:
- Build and enhance self-confidence, competitiveness and the student's desire for self-development
- Inspire public awareness of physical fitness and its relationship to sports and nutrition, and encourage the habit of regular exercise
- Boost students’ physical fitness
- Tap students’ special capabilities and potential; develop their skills
- Realise opportunities for safe social integration and protect students from contemporary social dangers
- Encourage the constructive use of free time
The physical fitness award programme is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Education and the Jordanian School Sports Federation. The trial phase of the project began in the 2005-2006 scholastic year, involving a total of 19,057 participants in 148 schools throughout Jordan. It was tremendously popular. The following year, the number of participants rose to 69,732 students from 307 schools.
The top ten students – five girls and five boys – who participated in the second phase qualified for the award programme's first youth exchange programme with a visit to the President's Challenge in Washington, DC, a national fitness programme in the United States similar to the King Abdullah II Award.