Not a pool in sight!

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Abhijith Krishnan, a high school student in Kochi, was so enthusiastic about swimming this summer.

To add to his joy, deputy mayor B. Bhadra, in her budget speech, said that the corporation would launch a project to teach swimming to all kids in the city.

However, Abhijith is disappointed now. He now realises that his wish will remain only on paper as the city lacks swimming pools where kids can be instructed.

He now knows that the deputy mayor’s promise was just eyewash, as even the corporation does not have a place where city kids can be taught how to swim.

Despite being a place that has a strong bond with water bodies, Kochi has no pools. The only institution in the city with swimming pool facility is the Regional Sports Centre.

Though many of the clubs, apartments and five star hotels have polls, they are not accessible to common folks.

The corporation’s plan was to take the kids to the RSC. But, the RSC, that already has hundreds of regular swimmers, will not be accessible to the corporation, which means that kids belonging to the middle class and lower middle class, can only depend on ponds which are fast disappearing.

Sources said the corporation will have to wait for one more year to have a pool, as the proposed swimming pool of GCDA is still on paper.

The officials are yet to begin construction of the proposed pool by the side of Chirackal bridge near Palluruthy.

According to R.Thyagarajan, chairman of education and sports standing committee, the corporation will launch the project only at Chirackal, once its construction is completed.

Swimming remains only on paper in school curriculum

Swimming may be one of the favourite physical activities of students but only a handful of schools are actually including it in the curriculum for want of infrastructure.

Boards like CBSE have included swimming among the seven ‘Suggested Activities’, the others being dance, sports, yoga, athletics and martial arts.

“Every school under the board needs to compulsorily engage students in any two of the activities. But students can opt for swimming only if the schools have pools,” said T.P.M Ibrahim Khan, chairman of Kerala Federation of CBSE/ICSE Schools.

“Ninety per cent of the schools, especially those in cities and towns, don’t have swimming pools. So that option is out for students. Now yoga is a popular choice,” said Maya Mohan, principal, Chinmaya Vidhyalaya, Vaduthala.

The fact is that most of the schools don’t have such facilities for want of space and also due to expensive maintenance. There is also a shortage for professional swimming instructors.

Further, the syllabus makes it clear that it’s just not about learning how to swim but it calls for a professional approach.

The government schools, however, are playing it safe by not taking the trouble. “Though sports education is compulsory for the high school, swimming has not been included among the activities,” said Murali M.D, Deputy Director of Exams.

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