All schoolchildren in the Australian province of Victoria will be required to swim 50 meters straight and show in-pool survival skills beginning in 2017, according to a report from the Herald Sun.
Swimming programs have become somewhat common already in Victoria, but many of these curricula did not result in student showing any swimming aptitude at their conclusion, according to Education and Emergency Services Minister James Merlino, who called for these new program to be “intensive.”
Each student must earn the Victoria Water Safety Certificate, which shows proof of swimming ability, water safety knowledge and rescue skills. According to the Herald Sun, students being held back because they failed to meet these criteria, but schools with failing students will be pushed harder to help students pass.
Merlino has called for schools to seek out local pools and swimming instructors to help students reach the requirements. No additional funding towards the effort will be provided, although grants will be available via application.
The Herald Sun had been pushing for these learn-to-swim programs in schools as a result of 43 drowning deaths in Victoria this year and a 40 percent rise in fatal drownings. Research from Life Saving Victoria found that three out of five students could not swim by the time they finished primary school
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