Children compete in a race at Ky Dong Swimming Pool in HCM City (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - All districts in HCM City have been told by the city’s People’s Committee to give priority to allocating land and funds to build at least one new swimming pool each year in their localities until 2020.

The aim is to reduce the number of drowning incidents in the city. 

The committee will set up a steering board composed of the committee’s deputy chairman and representatives of several agencies who will help implement the drowning-prevention programme.

Foreign and domestic organisations and individuals will be asked to invest in the pools, and schools will be asked to create conditions for swimming lessons.

Local managers of public swimming pools have been urged to reduce rental fees for schools.

Nguyen Thi Thu, deputy chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee, said that inspection of pools would also be stepped up.

Children would be taught swimming and other skills to help prevent drowning, Thu added.

The city targets reducing the number of children’s deaths caused by drowning by 6 percent by 2020.

The city’s outlying district of Hoc Mon has been chosen to pilot the swimming universalisation programme.

In the 2017-2018 period, five new swimming pools are expected to offer swimming lessons to students in the district, according to the Department of Education and Training.

The outlying district of Can Gio, which is the first locality to have mobile swimming pools, has 22,161 ha of rivers and canals. But only 17 percent of its students know how to swim.

As of last April, HCM City had 37 schools with swimming pools.

In Can Gio District, only 21 percent of primary school students, 30 percent of secondary school students, and 30 percent of high school students know how to swim.

All education departments around the country have been urged to instruct students to avoid swimming in lakes, rivers and streams that have warning signs posted.

The education departments have also been told to encourage organisations and individuals to help schools provide swimming lessons to students.

Training courses in swimming will be held for teachers by the Ministry of Education and Training in co-operation with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Around 2,800 Vietnamese children died from drowning in the 2010-2015 period, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.-VNA