Swimming to become compulsory at school? Education Ministry says yes, parents no

Last update 07:50 | 29/06/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – While the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has said that adding swimming to the official curricula is necessary, parents are protesting the plan, saying that this would burden students.

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MOET has shown its strong determination to teach swimming to all general school students.

Nguyen Duc Huu, deputy director of MOET’s primary education department, citing figures to show that the number of drowning deaths is on the rise, said it is necessary to teach swimming as an official subject not only at primary schools but at secondary schools, high schools, junior colleges and universities.

While the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has said that adding swimming to the official curricula is necessary, parents are protesting the plan, saying that this would burden students.

Ngu Duy Anh, another senior official of MOET, said the teaching would also help them develop both physically and mentally.

“MOET is encouraging and instructing training establishments to teach swimming at school through ways suitable to local conditions,” Anh said.

Since the beginning of the year, the department has released five documents and instructions on equipping children with knowledge to prevent drowning and minimize traumatic accidents.

Thu Huong, a parent in Dong Da district, said she was worried about the number of deaths because of drowning. She takes her child to swimming classes every summer, but the skills have not improved.

Huong hopes that if swimming is a compulsory school subject, the child will try her best and swim fluently.

Other parents, however, don’t think this should be taught as a compulsory subject.

“If MOET decides that it is necessary to teach swimming at school, it will have to teach many other things as well, from life skills to martial arts,” Tran Nhu Hoa, a parent in Cau Giay district commented.

“If you want your children to practice swimming, you should take them to swimming pools at sports centers instead of requiring swimming lessons at school,” she said.

The woman said the official curriculum at school with more than 10 subjects is too heavy for students.

A primary school teacher in Hanoi warned that students will have to pass the subject. What will happen if some students have to repeat classes just because their health is not in good condition and cannot pass swimming exams?

A report of the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) showed there are 7,000 children deaths every year because of accidents. In 2010-2015, about 2,800 children died because of drowning every year. Nguyen Trong An, former deputy head of the Child Care and Protection Agency, said he was startled about such a high number of deaths recently.

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