Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Aware of the alarming number of drowning deaths among children in Việt Nam, Nguyễn Quỳnh Hương of HCM City took her seven-year-old son to the local swimming pool for lessons.
“This is a skill that’s really necessary,” Hương tells Việt Nam News.
Like Hương, many parents this summer are taking their children to local pools to learn how to swim.
At Lan Anh Club of Swimming Pools in District 3, the number of children this summer rose by nearly 40 per cent compared to other times in the year.
Lessons are also taught by coaches at pools at many apartment buildings such as Phú Thạnh Building in Tân Phú and Lexington in District 2.
The city People’s Committee has outlined policies to reduce the number of drowning fatalities by 6 per cent annually, compared to the figure in 2016.
Dương Văn Thư, head of educational division in Cần Giờ District, tells Giáo Dục Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh (HCM City Education) newspaper that the city provides a subsidy of VNĐ200,000 (US$8.8) to each student in the district, which has 22,161 ha of rivers and canals but only 17 per cent of the district’s students know how to swim.
The district has only two swimming pools, including one at a primary school and another located in a town, Thư says, adding that they cannot meet the demand of thousands of students.
The division has asked the district People’s Committee to set up mobile swimming pools at schools.
Hồ Minh Long, head of Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm Club of Swimming Pools in District 1, says the club co-operates with schools and residential areas each year to communicate the benefits of swimming and offer free lessons for third graders and above.
Staff picks up children and takes them to the club, while those with financial difficulties are provided swimwear and goggles.
For the last seven years, free lessons have been provided to about 30,000 children.
After 16 classes, children know how to swim, while 90 per cent of the children know how to save others in danger of drowning.
Many of the children have been chosen to take part in the contests, he adds.
In addition, parents have become more aware of the importance of swimming skills.
In the 2016-17 academic year, the city had 572,714 primary school students who studied swimming, accounting for more than 45 per cent of the total, according to the Department of Education and Training.
The number was higher compared to the last several years.
In districts 1, 4, 5, 7 and Gò Vấp, more than 70 per cent of the total number of students were taught swimming.
The districts closely co-operated with owners and clubs of swimming pools in their localities to offer lessons to students. — VNS