National Policy For Swimming Instruction in Schools and Assessment Of Water Competence: A Multi-National Survey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution - Published abstract for conference with selection processResearchpeer-review


Research units


Water safety education is one of the most important drowning prevention interventions. Key aquatic competencies have
recently been identified. The teaching of swimming remains disparate. Consensus is yet to be achieved on “what to teach”.
Little is known about best practice and how competence is assessed, at the national level.
The aim of this comparative multi-national study was to explore national policy regarding whether swimming instruction is
compulsory in the schools, what should be taught and how water competence is assessed.
The survey was evaluated by a small convenience sample from three countries to determine the contextual validity.
Adjustments were made to the protocol and the wording of questions. Reliability was evaluated by polling three persons
from each of three countries. In this pilot study the convenience sample consisted of all participants at the XIII International
Symposium for Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming, Tsukuba, Japan, October, 2018. This sample was 312 persons from
26 different countries. The questionnaire was configured for internet sending, response and tabulation. This study will be
expanded to include participants in WCDP. Data will be recovered from January to September 2019.
First analyses showed that less than 50% of countries have national compulsory school swimming instruction. The
organization of a national standard assessment tool theoretically defining “can swim” appears to be an exception. Again, in
most countries this may happen at the regional, district or municipal level. Qualitative specific results linked to the contents
of the tests and the swimming instructions showed high heterogeneity between countries.
The school system remains the best place to meet all children. These results show that we remain far from consensus
regarding a) the need for broadly available swimming instruction, b) standardization of assessment of water competence,
and c) what to teach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstract Book : World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2019, Durban, October 8-12, Ubuntu: Growing global drowning prevention capacity
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationLeuven
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Publication date10.2019
Publication statusPublished - 10.2019
EventWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention: Ubuntu: growing global drowning prevention capacity; International Life Saving Federation World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2019 - Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa
Duration: 08.10.201910.10.2019

ID: 5025443

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