Nha Trang preschool drops swimming risk form after parental controversy

By Bui Toan   June 10, 2024 | 02:10 am PT
Nha Trang preschool drops swimming risk form after parental controversy
The facade of VNC World Kindergarten in Nha Trang City in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Bui Toan
An international kindergarten in Nha Trang City has removed a request in which parents must sign a "risk acknowledgment form" to register their kids for a summer swimming class.

VCN World Kindergarten in the beach city of Nha Trang caused online controversy in recent days, with what was seen as a highly inappropriate request.

One parent explained that the school offered the "Approval to participate in the swimming program" form in both English and Vietnamese.

In the form, the school states that the class is intended to develop students' physical skills, free of charge, and on a voluntary basis. However, the activity involves risks, it stated.

"Swimming is a sport with inherent characteristics and risks beyond the control of VCN World; therefore, parents/guardians need to be aware of these risks," the form read.

Near the end of the form is a pre-written commitment that states: "I voluntarily accept the inherent risks involved in the swimming activities, knowing that my child may be injured due to unforeseen incidents related to participating in these activities."

The parent argues that signing this form is akin to "voluntarily" accepting potential loss of life and health of their child to the school.

Furthermore, he argued that parents might be pushed into a "difficult legal situation" by absolving the school and swimming instructors of responsibility, so he refused to sign the form.

A mother of a 4-year-old also criticized the school.

Meanwhile, many signed the commitment form, either accepting the risks or not paying close attention to the details.

On June 8, the head of the Education and Training Department of Nha Trang reported that they had met with VCN World Kindergarten to demand adjustments to the form.

Additionally, the school must submit all documents related to the organization of swimming lessons. The department will inspect them, and only if the school meets the regulations will it be allowed to proceed.

Dang Thi Dong, the school's principal said the school had revised the form and apologized to the parents. She added that the swimming course had 189 children registered and that the school always ensures its responsibility to keep them safe.

The "parental approval" section has been changed to: "I understand that when my child participates in swimming activities; there may be force majeure situations that are beyond the school's control."

Parents have expressed agreement with this new content.

VCN World Kindergarten has been operating since August 2022. According to its website, the school has 21 classes and accepts children from 6 months to 5 years old.

The students spend half the day learning in English with foreign teachers and the other half with a curriculum provided by the Ministry of Education and Training.

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