The prestigious ‘Swim N Survive’ project initiated by the Sports Directorate, under which portable swimming pools are being supplied to selected schools, has many takers in other districts. But in the capital city, things are different. Here, the project is hanging in balance with the management of Pattom St Mary’s HSS, the proposed venue, turning its back on the proposal.
But the irony is that St Mary’s had never applied for the project, nor was it included in the proposal submitted by the Sports Directorate. Moreover, the school was selected after omitting three other schools which were proposed by the Directorate. “We don’t have sufficient space to house a swimming pool. There are more than 10,000 students here and it is impossible to teach all of them swimming. The only open space we have is the playground, but that is even inadequate to accommodate playing students,” said St Mary’s headmistress Asha Ani George.
The proposal submitted by the Directorate with the approval of the Education Department had Government Model Boys HSS, SMV High School and Cotton Hill Girls HSS in the run for the single pool. This was confirmed by Sports Directorate Additional Director S Najumudeen. “We didn’t have St Mary’s in our proposal. SMV School was rejected as the ground was being used by cricket clubs. In the case of Cotton Hill, it was the ecological issue that prompted the officials to reject it and the Model School proposal was turned down as the school was to house a multi-purpose court. The decision to propose St Mary’s School as the location was taken in a meeting convened by the Sports Minister,” he said.
He also said that, so far, he had not received any intimation from St Mary’s School officials about the latter’s displeasure over setting up the pool. When asked why St Mary’s, which was not included in the proposal, was selected, Najumudeen said that he did not have any idea and that he was absent at the meeting convened by the Sports Minister. But he added that if the school had any apprehension, then a new location would be spotted soon.