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Swimming to be made mandatory for school children

Siddiqur Rahman Khan

To reduce the number of deaths from drowning, the government has decided to make swimming mandatory for all schoolchildren, as is the practice in different developed countries, including the UK and Australia.
According to a recent report of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the Alliance for Safe Children (Tasc) the cause of death in roughly one in four children who die between one and 10 years of age is drowning. This makes drowning the leading killer of children in Bangladesh, overtaking diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.
‘We have finalised the circular on making swimming mandatory for all school-going students. We will send letters to the school authorities in a day or two in this regard,’ Md Nazrul Islam Khan, the education secretary, told New Age Wednesday.
Referring to a study by the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB) which mentioned that every year 18 thousand children die of such accidents, the secretary said that hundreds of rivers and canals have crisscrossed Bangladesh so it is urgent to have mandatory training of swimming for schoolchildren.
The schools authorities will decide where and how the students will be provided with swimming training.
He said that school authorities in Dhaka will have arrangement with the authorities of swimming pools as there is scarcity of rivers, canals and ponds in the capital city.
Md Shajhan Ali, deputy director of the Dhaka University Physical Education Wing, said nearly 3,000 children have learned how to swim from the Dhaka University swimming pool since 2001. Different NGOs and ordinary people with their children come to the DU swimming pool.
The number of total schoolchildren aged between 5 and 16 is more than three crore.

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