Mangalore, Jul 17: Swimming is a life saving skill and is considered one of the best exercises for the whole body and mind. Sadly, swimming is not a part of the curriculum in most schools in our country. Even Mangalore which is known as the educational hub does not boast of swimming pool facility in most schools because it calls for huge investment.
Having realized the importance of equipping students with this life saving skill and also to facilitate the wellbeing of the body and the minds of students, Management of St Aloysius College, Mangalore, in association with St Aloysius College Alumni/ae Association is all set to fill this vacuum.
It is ready with a foolproof plan to build a swimming pool keeping in tune with international standards. Serious ground work has already begun in the direction and as a first step University Grants Commission, New Delhi, has responded positively to the project by sanctioning Rs. 1 crore, which will be released soon. There will also be a mini swimming pool just close the main pool to enable toddlers to learn the basic skills of swimming without fear before they graduate to swim in the bigger pool.
Like any other international swimming pool it will be 50 meters in length and will have 8 lanes. Apart from providing an opportunity for the students of the school and college to learn and practice swimming it will be suitable for conducting a national and even international level swimming competitions. Though the alumni association has been established decades ago members have only been providing piecemeal contributions so far as individual members. For the first time a major responsibility in the form of the Swimming Pool Project has been taken up by the alumni association to give a helping hand to the management in planning and executing a project of this magnitude. The project therefore is therefore rightfully named as SACAA Swimming Pool (St Aloysius College Alumni Association) Project.
Arthur D Souza, Hon President of Alumni Association says “though the idea of building a swimming pool has been doing the rounds for the last three decades it has taken a concrete shape only now. Swimming is a life saving skill and we believe children should be taught to swim and should be a part of the curriculum”. When asked what prompted the alumni association to even think about setting up a swimming pool at the Aloysius campus he said “it is one of the ways for the alumni to express its gratitude to the institution which has given us a solid foundation for a career. Though we could not have the facility when we were studying here we want to ensure that children who study at Aloysius institutions should not be deprived of this facility”.
The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs. 2.5 crores. The Management and the alumni have decided to make good the shortfall of Rs. 1.5 crores by seeking donations and sponsorships. Arthur D Souza and Vice Principal of the college Fr Walter Andrade even plan to go to gulf countries in August-September this year, to raise funds for the project from former students. A good beginning has already been made in this direction with alumni of the institution philanthropist P Dayananda Pai giving a generous contribution of Rs. 20 lakhs for the project.
Since the UGC grant is yet to come, the management was of the opinion that work should only after pooling together an initial corpus of at least Rs. 50 lakhs. Now, the stage is set for the ground work to begin.
Life Saving Skill
The institution has taken the permission of the local authorities to construct the swimming pool and a license has been obtained for the same. The license is valid only for two years which means that the construction of the pool should be completed within the stipulated two year period.
N G Mohan Convener of SACCA pointed out that in undivided Dakshina Kannada district as many as 18 children have died of drowning in the last two months, which demonstrates that we need to train our students in this basic life saving activity. This number has gone up further with addition of few more drowning cases in the last two days. “These precious lives could have been saved if our children had the opportunity to learn swimming. Teaching swimming as part of the curriculum is the best way to make every student of the school/college to learn to swim. It is a huge task but we are at least making a beginning. Swimming would also enable children to imbibe discipline and keep their body and mind in good health, something which most students lack these days”, he stated.
With this swimming pool going to become a reality within the next two years at St Aloysius campus, Mangalore city will have an international standard 8 lane swimming pool, which the city is lacking badly. Though the city has made rapid progress in all spheres, there is only one 6 lane 50 meter pool maintained by the city corporation near Mangala Stadium, which is almost 3 decade old. The Karnataka Swimming Association is hesitating to hold even state level competitions in this pool because it is six lanes and every time our competitors have to go to either Bangalore or even a place like Davanagere for state level competitions. The city corporation has not responded favorably to the demands of various clubs to at the corporation pool which train children for competitive swimming to have another pool keeping in tune with the growth of the population.
Though it is said that people of the coastal area especially fishermen are natural and will have the edge when it comes to competitions, lack of training facility in the one and only corporation swimming pool (it is a public pool and public are given preference) is a major hindrance to blossom their natural talent. So far corporation authorities have turned a deaf ear to the demands. Fortunately, what the Corporation authorities could not do, now St Aloysius College Management is doing with gusto.
The alumni and others wishing to contribute for the project can do so by demand draft or cheque drawn in favour of:
SACAA Swimming Pool,
A/c No SB 3154202909
Central Bank of India
St Aloysius College Branch.
For more details mail to sacaa_sac@ yahoo.com