Make swimming lessons compulsory

Make swimming lessons compulsory

Swimming is an essential skill that should be compulsory and taught in primary and secondary schools. Schools should incorporate swimming as a lesson in their co-curriculum and have swimming lessons on weekday afternoons or Saturdays.

The NST Life & Times Health supplement had a wonderful feature, "Swimming and the fear factor" (July 16), on the importance of children learning to swim while in school.

The writer advocates swimming as an essential skill, more important to survival than anything else children will learn in school.

Even if children never go swimming, they should know how to swim because they can fall into water at any time. Water hazards are present everywhere; not just beaches and pools, but also lakes, ponds, water parks and bath tubs in the home. A small child can drown even in just 60cm of water.

Swimming is an activity that exercises the entire body and can be pursued throughout one's life.

Schools can employ professional instructors to conduct lessons, either at the schools' swimming pools or pools in the vicinity.

Stringent steps should be taken by the school authorities to ensure the safety of the children during such lessons.

Teaching children to swim also teaches them about water safety and how to assess safe and dangerous situations, as well as how to react in emergencies.

Swimming improves the chances of survival and can reduce the number of drowning cases in the country.

Last year, there were 303 cases of drowning, mostly involving children. Many of the cases happened during the school holidays or monsoon season.

Most of them could have been prevented if the victims were aware of their situation and had lessons in life-saving techniques.

Parents can complement the schools and send their children for swimming lessons as well.

Swimming and water safety skills should be a foremost priority in the country, as we are a nation with an extensive coastline and wide expanses of water, in the form of rivers, lakes, ponds, waterfalls, drains and floods.

The government should make swimming and water safety compulsory for all children. Schools should also be given the onus to teach children how to swim.

~ Samuel Yesuiah, Seremban, Negri Sembilan


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