Baku. 9 April. REPORT.AZ/ The government of Bangladesh has made swimming lessons compulsory in schools to reduce the number of children who drown in the country's many waterways.
Report informs referring to the foreign media, according to UN figures, about 18,000 children between five and 17 die each year because they cannot swim.
The Education Ministry says rural ponds and lakes will be made suitable for lessons and university pools opened up.
But some say the directive will be hard to implement because of a lack of pools in urban areas.
Drowning has been described as a hidden epidemic in Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world and situated in the low-lying Ganges River delta.
The victims are mostly children from poor sections of society who live close to major rivers, ponds and lakes.
Ponds are the main bathing place for more than two-thirds of the country's 160 million people.
Education Secretary Nazrul Islam Khan told AFP news agency that an average of 48 people drown every day in Bangladesh.
"It's a huge figure, which is 20 times higher than Australia," he said.
He said one in four deaths of children under four is caused by drowning.
BBC Bangla's Sabir Mustafa says that the directive will be hard to implement because there are too few swimming pools in towns and cities.