Schools lack re­sources to teach wa­ter sur­vival

Viet Nam News - - Opinion -

Why do child drown­ings con­tinue to shock the na­tion? N T A I A C C P D

The first rea­son is that adults ’ aware­ness on tak­ing proper care of their chil­dren has not been im­proved de­spite great ef­forts from dif­fer­ent min­istries and agen­cies.

In ru­ral ar­eas, the daily ex­po­sure to wa­ter haz­ards is sig­nif­i­cant. For ex­am­ple, wa­ter jars, ponds and wells are not cov­ered, cre­at­ing a haz­ard for chil­dren un­der the age of one year.

More­over, wa­ter­way trans­port safety reg­u­la­tions are not im­ple­mented or en­forced prop­erly. Many boats are not equipped with life jack­ets and life buoys. Some ves­sels have th­ese safety de­vices, but they are tied tightly to the sides of the boats and are dif­fi­cult to re­move.

Mean­while, most Viet­namese chil­dren lack swim­ming skills. The lat­est sur­vey shows that only 35 per cent of chil­dren be­tween eight and 15 years old can swim. In 2010, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (MOET) con­ducted a pilot pro­ject to teach swim­ming to pri­mary school stu­dents. How­ever, re­sults were limited. Why is this?

I will not comment un­less the min­istry pro­vides statis­tics and The

ecent news o child en d own­ing in seve al p ovinces in the ent al High­land has high­lighted the se ious­ness o the p ob lem. epo te s Thu T ang and uy nh Anh spo e to au­tho ities and e pe ts on solv­ing the p oblem. in­for­ma­tion about the pro­ject. Any­way, in my opin­ion, swim­ming should be taught when chil­dren are un­der six.

For­merly, the min­istry joined hands with the Child Care and Pro­tec­tion Depart­ment to make swim­ming a com­pul­sory sub­ject at schools by 2015, how­ever, the pro­ject failed due to a short­age of funds.

To solve this sit­u­a­tion, prov­inces and cities would be bet­ter off rais­ing funds them­selves in­stead of wait­ing for funds from the State or min­istries.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, agen­cies and schools should use in­no­va­tive ap­proaches in teach­ing chil­dren. They can use mo­bile swim­ming pools made from rub­ber or para­chute fab­ric de­pend­ing on their fi­nan­cial ca­pac­ity.

The funds needed to build one reg­u­lar swim­ming pool can build six mo­bile pools. In Ñaø Na ng over the past three years, as many as 23,000 chil­dren in the city have been taught swim­ming this way. D P N T P N T D

Ev­ery year the Thanh Xuaân Sports Cen­tre of­fers the school free-of-charge swim­ming teach­ing for 59 poor stu­dents, How­ever, the school has 2,000 stu­dents, so the num­ber of chil­dren ben­e­fit­ing is limited.

The school wanted to build a swim­ming pool, how­ever, when call­ing for con­tri­bu­tions from chil­dren’s par­ents, many said they could not af­ford it. Some said that learn­ing swim­ming was not nec­es­sary as most drown­ings oc­curred in ru­ral ar­eas. What do you think can be done to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion?

An: Since 2006, the depart­ment joined hands with the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing to set up a safe en­vi­ron­ment for school chil­dren in all 63 prov­inces and cities across the coun­try.

This in­cluded pro­vid­ing school lessons on safe places to swim and how to re­act when in dif­fi­cul­ties. Lo­cal­i­ties were urged to set up warn­ing signs at danger­ous ponds and holes.

Ph ng: At present, most of schools do not have swim­ming pools and sports cen­tres so so­cial or­gan­i­sa­tions should adopt poli­cies on dis­count­ing ticket prices for chil­dren at sports cen­tres ’ swim­ming pools. Th­ese cen­tres should give sup­port in teach­ing chil­dren swim­ming.

The State should have more poli­cies to im­prove liv­ing stan­dards for res­i­dents in ru­ral ar­eas. I know many res­i­dents are too busy mak­ing ends’ meet and ig­nore look­ing af­ter their chil­dren.

When adults spend all day im­prov­ing their fru­gal meals, how can they keep a keen eye on their chil­dren What ’ s hap­pen­ing is that the chil­dren do what­ever they like, go wher­ever they want. Chil­dren’s drown­ing will be re­duced when poverty is re­duced. T A C A

As a per­son who has hands-on ex­pe­ri­ences in work­ing in child wa­ter safety, I be­lieve the fun­da­men­tal rules to solve this prob­lem are to teach chil­dren sur­vival swim­ming skills and help par­ents un­der­stand the im­por­tance of such skill to their chil­dren.

How­ever, I do not think many par­ents get that. In some schools we are work­ing with many par­ents who are re­luc­tant to pay ad­di­tional ex­penses for swim­ming lessons.

That is why schools have to strug­gle to keep an in- school swim­ming teach­ing pro­gramme go­ing on given their limited re­sources. Not many schools are as lucky as the pri­mary schools in Ñaø Na ng City with whom we have been col­lab­o­rat­ing un­der the Swim­Safe pro­gramme.

It pro­vides stu­dents with free lessons on sur­vival swim­ming skills. The fund­ing is from donors, so both the schools and the par­ents do not have to pay. How­ever, if we want to im­ple­ment com­pul­sory, school­based lessons for young chil­dren, par­ents would have to pay VNÑ187,500 (about US$9). I do not think that is too much.

Swim­safe is will­ing to share its ex­per­tise with Viet­namese agen­cies. Since it was launched in 2009, it has taught nearly 23,000 chil­dren in Ñaø Nang sur­vival swim­ming skills. Our teach­ing pro­gramme in­cludes 20 lessons which last 45 min­utes each. And we have 120 well-trained in­struc­tors.

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing has shown in­ter­est in our cur­ricu­lum and in 2010 we helped train 120 swim­ming in­struc­tors from Ha i D ông, HCM City and Ñoàng Tha p.

Swim­ming in­struc­tors in schools teach swim­ming for com­pe­ti­tion but over­look teach­ing sur­vival swim­ming skills. This at­ti­tude should be changed.

The ed­u­ca­tion min­istry has given di­rec­tions about the need to learn swim­ming, but un­for­tu­nately there were no sup­port­ing guide­lines.—

o Th My Hoa

Nguye n Tro ng An

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