Head of the sports division of the Ha Noi Culture, Sports and Tourism Department, Dinh Van Luyen, explained to Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) details of a programme to teach children how to swim.
The swimming teaching programme has only achieved modest results despite the fact that it has been running in the city for many years. What changes have been made for 2014?
Teaching children to swim is urgent due to the increased number of drownings in the city. The programme is a key activity and we believe the results have been encouraging.
We spent more than VND1 billion (US$47,500) on it in 2013. More than 4,000 primary and secondary students can now swim at least 25 metres using one of four styles, crawl, breast stroke, butterfly or backstroke.
In 2014, we will expand the number of courses from 29 to 36 thanks to an investment of a total of VND1.5 billion ($71,000). The programme has been implemented in 25 districts and towns, especially in area with many ponds, lakes and rivers such as Ba Vi, My Duc and Dan Phuong. We hope to teach between five and six thousand students this year.
The city can only teach a few thousand, so how can it overcome the many drownings?
This year, the city's sports budget is nearly VND16 billion ($750,000) and we had to make an effort to allocate VND1.5 billion. The programme is seen as a catalyst to encourage districts, towns and sport centres to collaborate with schools and teach children to swim.
It would be difficult to expand the programme if had to wait for money from the city or Government. We must create a movement that involves not only the State, but the whole community.
How do you ensure the quality of the programme?
All students have to pass an exam at the end of each course. During the exam, sport managers and specialists also inspect and supervise. The department only awards certificates to qualified students.
What do you think about the future?
There is big demand to learn to swim, but little financial support. However, we hope that this support will encourage districts to get involved. — VNS