A middle school in Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Dak Nong has opened a mobile swimming pool for students and local children to practice safe swimming skills.
Vuong Kha Phuc, a PE coach at Nguyen Du Middle School, proposed the mobile swimming pool idea to his school’s administrators after witnessing a similar pool in operation at a school in the central city of Da Nang.
The plan was later accepted and has since been applied to many schools in Dak R’Lap District.
According to Phu, the ability to disassemble the pool and move it to different locations makes it a great tool to teach the district’s children how to swim.
At seven meters wide and 17 meters long, the pool is constructed from plastic held together with a rectangular metal frame. It features mechanisms that allow the operator to easily adjust its depth.
“Our objective is to teach children in different age groups, so the pool gives us the ability to adjust its depth up to 1.2 meters at a slope of 45 degrees to meet different needs,” the swimming coach said.
“The pool also features water circulation filtering and temperature controls that ensure the water isn’t too hot or cold.”
The primary reason for acquiring the pool was to give young learners a safe place to practice their swimming skills and learn water rescue techniques.
The school only spent about VND300 million (US$13,452) on the pool, much cheaper than the cost of a conventional swimming pool, over VND1 billion ($44,840).
Phan Thanh Hai, the parent of a child enrolled in swimming lessons at the school, said that he used to worry about the prevalence of local children drowning in streams and lakes, thus he hopes the lessons will help his child learn how to swim and cope with dangers in water.
Before Nguyen Du Middle School bought the pool, there was no facility where children could learn to swim, and the addition of the pool has left Hai feeling “very relieved.”
Le Thi Huong, the school’s principal, says that the students seem refreshed and more energetic since the pool’s opening.
“The children have been eager to swim since we put the pool into operation,” she told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“There are 1,100 students in our facility, but most of them don’t know the basic strokes. After only a month of operation, more than 100 of our students have learnt to swim and have developed water safety techniques,” she said.
Each swimming course lasts for three months with guidance from a swimming coach and supervision from a lifeguard.
The course costs VND160,000 ($7.17) per student.
Vietnam’s rate of child mortality from drowning is amongst the highest in Asia, with 32 children drowning every day, according to a recent survey by the World Health Organization.