It has not been easy for Aiah Dyba and her husband to join their children in the pool.
The family came as refugees from Palestine ten years ago. The mother of four had never taken a swim before she came to Norway.
– It was like never a theme. Especially not for us women.
Since it has been difficult for parents to help their children themselves, they have sent them on swimming lessons.
Depending on the parents’ help
Seven out of ten schools believe that parents must contribute in order for the children to achieve the competence goals in the curriculum.
It shows a survey conducted by NRK.
But many children do not get swimming training in their free time.
Swimming teacher at Haukås school in Hustadvika municipality, Anneli Talsethagen, despairs over how little parents are involved.
– The kids do not get the security from home that they should have.
The teacher constantly meets students who have never set foot in a pool before they start swimming at school.
As long as the situation is like this, she believes the competence goals for the fourth step are impossible to achieve. She is not alone in thinking so.
Half of the schools that have responded to NRK’s survey answer that the competence goals are unrealistic.
– When the kids are not even able to swim 12.5 meters over on the short side, how will they manage to swim 200 meters? They get too little training, says Talsethagen.
Therefore, she is concerned that parents must follow up.
– It’s almost like a lesson. You practice what you have learned.
The 10-year-olds must manage this
Students should be able to fall into deep water
Then they have to swim 100 meters on their stomachs
Along the way, they will dive down and pick up an object
Then they are allowed to rest for 3 minutes
Before they swim 100 meters back and go ashore
The important water
– The responsibility of schools
State Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Anja Johansen, says that all schools in Norway were allowed to take part in the process when the new competence goals were introduced.
– There is broad support for the curriculum for physical education subjects, she says.
– 72 percent of the schools answer that the parents must contribute to teach the children to swim. What do you think about it?
– Yes, you can say that about many things, public health in general, healthy lifestyle and swimming training. There are many parents who do not know it themselves either.
The Swedish Swimming Association believes this is one of the reasons why schools must take the greatest responsibility for children learning to swim.
– It is the schools that can ensure that you get equal opportunities. Regardless of where you live, what parents you have and what resources you have access to, says development consultant Jan Kjensli.
He believes schools must tell parents what they can contribute.
– Not everyone has the knowledge needed to do something on their own initiative.
Not so easy for everyone
Aiah Dyba believes that it is important for parents to take responsibility for their children’s swimming skills.
She herself has taken action and signed up for courses run by the Red Cross. She still has a long way to go before she can teach anyone else to swim.
And she has a great understanding that it is not as easy for everyone.
– If you have little time and poor finances, it is not so easy to know what to do, she says.
Dyba is happy that the family has reached an important goal. All four children can swim. They feel safe in the water.
– We live in Norway. There is a lot of water here. The children need to be able to swim.