Another study has revealed dropping levels of aquatic education in New Zealand schools, heightening concern from Water Safety agencies.
A new study by Associate Professor Chris Button of Otago University shows New Zealand children lack the basic knowledge to save themselves in the water.
The study of 48 primary school aged children (6-11 years) from eight schools around Dunedin found limited levels of propulsion skills with 62% unable to swim 100 metres.
“Knowledge of risks and emergency response was notably low and retention levels of taught water safety and survival skills were also
The results follow on from a Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) funded 2016 study into the levels of aquatic education in primary schools carried out by the New Zealand Council for Education Research. It found only around a quarter of New Zealand schools provide an adequate level.
New Zealand has one of the worst rates of preventable drownings in the OECD and Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) CEO Jonty Mills says if this pattern continues it will only get worse.
“Kiwis live their lives in, on and around water. If our children are not learning crucial water safety skills our drowning toll will not come down – more people will drown,” says Mills.
WSNZ believes water safety education needs to be regarded as more of a priority and directs around 70% of its funding into their national standard for aquatic education for
Jonty Mills says action is needed to address dropping levels of aquatic education. “It’s not acceptable that many kiwi kids aren’t even getting wet. We acknowledge there is a lot of pressure on schools but these skills are essential for our Kiwi way of life.”
“We want every Kiwi and visitor to our country to enjoy the water in whatever way, shape or form they like,” says Mills. “An alarming number are coming out of the education system without the basic fundamental skills to do that and this will only see a
Jonty Mills – CEO
Jonty joined Water Safety New Zealand in 2016. Previously he had spent more than 20 years in communications and external affairs leadership, operations and business development roles. He brings expertise in stakeholder management to CEO and ministerial level, with a blend of private and public sector experience. A long-standing member of BP's Senior Leadership team and media spokesperson Jonty has a background of leadership roles in marketing, operations and business development across commercial and retail business channels. During his time at BP, he was responsible for managing the company’s community partnerships – including Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Young Enterprise Trust and Royal Society of New Zealand – and has experience in advocacy as the interface between BP and central and local Government. He also helped embed safety as the number one priority and value across the organisation and is a strong advocate for Water Safety New Zealand’s core values and strategic direction.