Lee: Make swimming a necessary living skill

PETALING JAYA: Parents can play a vital role in supporting their children to take swimming lessons and turn it as an essential living skill, says National Water Safety Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

He lauded the Education Ministry’s new programmes and modules for students at school, describing it as a way forward to avoid drowning incidents involving children, especially during the school holidays.

“If we look at the numbers of cases, it is very disturbing, and I welcome this proactive and practical effort taken by the ministry as part of their initiatives for water safety education for school children,” he said when contacted yesterday.

He was commenting on the Education Ministry’s new Life-Saving Skills Programme and Water Safety and Rescue Awareness Module for Malaysian Schools.

Minister Dr Maszlee Malik told StarEdu that the new programme and module launched in Hulu Langat three months ago was aimed at reducing drowning cases.

It will also increase students’ water safety knowledge, skills and experience, prevent untoward incidents in water, and teach them rescue and life-saving skills in water.

Sunday Star also reported that water safety will be included in next year’s Form Four Bahasa Malaysia textbook.

The textbook will also have QR codes that students can scan to access video, audio and photos to help them better understand the lessons.

Lee said parents can give their support by bringing their children to explore outdoor activities involving water.

“There are a lot of places and activities that parents can bring their children together to, including the beach, waterfall or river.

“Parents can also bring their children to recreational resorts or parks that have water activities.

“These will encourage the young to take up swimming, not only as a sport, but as part of an essential living skill,” he added.

Lee also suggested that the Education Ministry include swimming pools as part of a compulsory structure in new schools, if the financial situation permits.

“At the moment, a majority of schools do not have such facilities and we know it is a question of budget.

“Perhaps they should include swimming pools in new schools to promote swimming lessons,” he added.

Otherwise, Lee said school administrators can bring their students to public pools run by local authorities.

Last November, Dr Maszlee told Parliament it was vital to teach children water safety and life-saving techniques, adding that more than 100 drowning cases occur every year, especially during holidays and monsoon seasons.

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