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Kerala Govt to Introduce Swimming in Curriculum to Counter Increasing Incidences of Drowning

State Education Minister C Raveendranath cited increasing incidences of drowning in the state as the motive behind this policy move.

Chandrakanth Viswanath | News18

Updated:June 6, 2019, 2:59 PM IST
Kerala Govt to Introduce Swimming in Curriculum to Counter Increasing Incidences of Drowning
The state has the highest numbers of cases of drowning in the country (Image : Reuters).

Thiruvananthapuram: In an unprecedented move, the Kerala government on Thursday announced that it will introduce swimming in the state education curriculum in order to prevent more cases of drowning.

"This is a historic day as we have brought in this change to the general education policy of the state. We are going to introduce swimming in the curriculum. All the 140 assembly segments in the state will have one swimming pool each. Moreover, there will be three states of the art swimming pools in the three zones of the state - north, south and the central,” explained state Minister for Education Professor C Raveendranath.

Raveendranath further cited increasing incidences of drowning in the state, which has 44 rivers and an umpteen number of lakes along with a 580 km-long shoreline, as the motive behind this policy move.

"Children getting drowned has a routine. Hence, children should get training in swimming. Parents should not hesitate to send them for training," the minister said.

The state has the highest numbers of cases of drowning in the country and the numbers tend to spike around summer when schools break for vacation.

Drowning accounts for 15 per cent of all unnatural deaths in the state. According to the 2014 figures, four in one lakh of the people in Kerala die every year as a result of drowning. A large number of people also have jobs linked with water.

According to the statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, 1,508 people died in the state from drowning, a number which comprises 1,261 men and 247 women, making it the second most common cause of accidental deaths after road mishaps.

However, most cases don’t get highlights in the news as isolated incidences only see deaths in single numbers.

A 2017 study titled An Epidemiological Study of Drowning Survivors Among School Children conducted by the Department of Family Medicine, MIMS Hospital, Kozhikode, said most cases of drowning, especially those around the Malabar region, occurred in the summer season when children are out playing or swimming.

The water body sites do not have protective measures such as fencing, floatation devices or lifeguards, the report further said. The study also found that 47.7 per cent of children drowned while playing, and 21.6 per cent drowned while learning to swim.

“About 50.9 per cent of the children who had drowned did not know how to swim and 9.1% were getting trained in swimming when the incident occurred. Nearly 40.1% of the drowning survivors already knew swimming,” it said.

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