HCM City children learning to swim hinh anh 1A swimming class in Vietnam (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – Being aware of the alarming number of drowning deaths among children in Vietnam, Nguyen Quynh Huong in Ho Chi Minh City took her seven-year-old son to the local swimming pool for lessons.

“This is a skill that’s really necessary,” Huong said.

Like Huong, 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 percent compared to other times in the year.

Lessons are also taught by coaches at pools at many apartment buildings such as Phu Thanh Building in Tan Phu and Lexington in District 2.

The city People’s Committee has outlined policies to reduce the number of drowning fatalities by 6 percent annually, compared to the figure in 2016.

Duong Van Thu, head of educational division in Can Gio district, tells Giao Duc Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh (HCM City Education) newspaper that the city provides a subsidy of 200,000 VND (8.8 USD) to each student in the district, which has 22,161 ha of rivers and canals but only 17 percent 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, Thu 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.

Ho Minh Long, head of Nguyen Binh Khiem Club of Swimming Pools in District 1, says the club cooperates 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 percent 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 percent 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 Go Vap, more than 70 percent of the total number of students were taught swimming.

The districts closely cooperated with owners and clubs of swimming pools in their localities to offer lessons to students.-VNA