The Finnish National Board of Education has mandated that primary school children participate in municipally-funded swimming lessons. From first to fourth grade, the pupils learn to feel comfortable in the water and learn basic swimming skills. In fifth to ninth grade, the goal of instruction is to develop the pupils’ swimming technique and learn basic lifesaving skills.
The Finnish Swimming Teaching and Lifesaving Federation (FSL) recommendation in order for children to meet this Education Board requirement is six hours of swimming instruction per academic year.
The need for swimming instruction in Finland has clearly risen, but the central region of Pirkanmaa is just one of Finland’s areas where supply doesn’t meet demand. Some schools aren’t able to meet the six-hour recommendation and must make do with more infrequent instruction. The FSL is concerned that municipal savings may even be reflected in increased numbers of drownings in the future.