Thiruvananthapuram:The High Court has asked the Kerala government to introduce swimming in all schools in Kerala as part of the students' curriculum.
The court has responded to a plea from the parents of the 15 children who, when out for a school excursion, drowned in river Periyar, this February.
Eight months after the tragedy, Kerala is set to become the first state to introduce swimming in the school curriculum.
Although it was too late for the parents to save their children on the tragic day, when the incident happened, they have now tried to make sure it is not too late for anyone else's child.
"The Education department would consider making swimming a part of the overall learning process. There are two angles - one is the overall health angle and the other you won't get drowned," said MA Baby, Education Minister of the State.
Parents also feel that this is a better way to deal with accidents, as compared to what Tamil Nadu's ban on school excursions altogether.
Namitha, a 10-year-old student, who just started her swimming lessons, has a long way to go. But her mother is pleased that she has begun.
"It is a very good thing. All students should learn to swim," said Dr Sreeja, Namitha's mother.
Namitha's coach, Chanrasekharan Nair, agrees that this is a good policy, but could not help pointing out that there is barely any infrastructure.
There are lakhs of students all across the state and very few swimming pools to serve them. Moreover, there are hardly any qualified coaches.
"It is very good that they adopted this policy, but I don't think it is possible in the near future. Infrastructure is not available in all villages and schools," said Nair.
While a policy measure to introduce swimming in schools has been widely welcomed, the woeful state of infrastructure is all too apparent.
Also, there is a need to generate awareness among parents about the importance of swimming, not only as an exercise, but as a life saving measure.
It is as important as coaching your children for entrance examinations.