The reintroduction of swimming as a mandatory subject in elementary schools could incur an annual cost of up to 212 million euros, according to an unpublished report by SEO Economic

Research, obtained by RTL Nieuws and shared with ANP. The SP party has been advocating for in-school swimming lessons for all children, a proposal yet to be implemented since the discontinuation of school swimming in 1985.

In 2021, the Mulier Institute found that only one in four elementary schools offered school swimming, raising concerns among politicians about declining swimming proficiency. The percentage of children aged 6-16 without a swimming certificate more than doubled from 6 to 13 between 2018 and 2022. This is particularly alarming for children with parents from a migration background and low income, who often lack access to swimming lessons.

Last summer, a majority in the Tweede Kamer supported a motion urging schools and local authorities to assess the costs of school swimming and take action. The estimated expense for compulsory school swimming ranges from 129 to 212 million euros, with The Hague required to pay the higher amount to cover swimming lessons until students obtain the A, B, and C diplomas.

Despite the financial burden, the researchers highlight potential benefits. Parents could collectively save up to 177 million euros as they would no longer need to enroll their children in separate swimming lessons. Additionally, the time saved by parents is valued at a maximum of 513 million euros, offsetting the overall costs associated with reintroducing school swimming. Photo by PoolSafely, Wikimedia commons.