Children in Victoria will have to be able to swim 50 metres by the end of primary school in a radical move to stop fatal drownings.
The water safety plan will be part of the curriculum from next year, according to News Corp.
It follows recent figures from Lifesaving Victoria which revealed three in five children cannot swim by the time they leave primary school.
Children will have to achieve the Victorian Water Safety Certificate which also tests their water safety knowledge, in the same way that they study subjects such as maths and English.
Schools will develop their own safety programs but the Victorian Government is reportedly under pressure to commit funding to mandatory swimming lessons.
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Education and Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said teaching kids to swim would “help save lives”.
“That’s why students will learn about water safety, how to float and swim as part of their physical education classes under the new Victorian curriculum from term one next year,” Mr Merlino told the paper.
A second water awareness campaign will be launched early next year and will focus on toddlers who are still at the highest risk of drowning, according to the paper.