“Unlike Learn-To-Swim, which annually trains 30,000 primary-school pupils in basic swimming proficiency, Swim-Safer places more emphasis on water safety” (Learn To Survive In Open Waters, Miss Pamela Chow).
I refer to the article, “Learn To Survive In Open Waters” (March 19, 2010), by Miss Pamela Chow.
It is commendable to comprehend that the National Water Safety Council (NWSC) has worked tirelessly and closely with the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) to improve existing swimming and water safety programmes targeted at primary-school pupils. Notwithstanding the eventual success of the SwimSafer programme, it is comforting to witness the dedication of the council: from its observation trip in Western Australia to genuine consultation efforts involving respective stakeholders. While the efforts might seem negligible to some, I am confident that the new initiatives would bear fruit in time to come; with children developing greater water confidence and cognisance of the importance of water safety. Indeed, swimming and water confidence are subtle – yet extremely useful – lifelong skills.
With a feasible concept in mind, it is imperative for the NWSC to follow-up by reaching out to more schools and students so as to establish a stable foundation before advancing to a greater target audience. To involve Singaporeans of all ages, SwimSafer can subsequently be introduced as a family programme, in which children can pick up skills together – or under the guidance – of their parents. With dedicated planning and approaches, not only would more be able to pick up the relevant pointers, it would also be a good way to facilitate family bonding and togetherness.
Other local sports agencies and councils can pick up where the NWSC has left off to gradually introduce or revise existing initiatives. This can be done through schools, co-curricular clubs, or even as independent programmes to increase the levels of physical education in Singapore. Given the impending Youth Olympic Games (YOG), it is important not just to heighten sports training and excellence for gifted athletes, but also to expose ordinary Singaporeans – especially young students – to a myriad of sports they can participate in for leisure and exercise.
Such recommendations would certainly be in line with the efforts of the Ministry of Education (MOE), which has recently announced that there would be increased emphasis on physical education in primary and secondary schools: with the implementation of new courses, engagement of new staff members, lengthening of the periods dedicated for activities et cetera. The possibilities for the sports agencies and councils are endless: so rather than passively waiting for the SSC to roll out new initiatives, why not take the first step to reach out instead?
A version of this article was published in My Paper.