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The Ministry of Culture supports basic swimming training in the schools

Swimming is a vital skill that everyone should learn. In order to ensure that all children have access to basic swimming training, between 2005 and 2017 the Ministry of Culture allocated €230,082 to the counties and to the city of Tallinn for conducting compulsory swimming classes. Since 2018, the government has provided €1,230,082 in grants for basic swimming training. This amount is distributed to the local governments through the Local Government Support and Adjustment Fund of the Ministry of Finance.

 However, a study conducted in 2015 showed that the results that the basic training described in the national curriculum aspired to achieve were insufficient. The availability of the basic training in the country was uneven, and a uniform methodology and description of the qualifications of the teachers conducting the training were lacking.
In early 2017, the government approved a proposal by the Ministry of Culture to improve the level of basic swimming training in the schools and to update the methodology and to allocate an addition €1 million for basic training in swimming. 
At the beginning of 2018, a programme for basic swimming training with a totally updated methodology was implemented, which helps ensure that all the children that have completed the basic training will have the necessary swimming skills. In total, as of 2018, the state will contribute €1,230,082 for conducting basic swimming training at study level I.


Updated methodology


According to the new methodical teaching material compiled by the Estonian Swimming Federation and the Rescue Board in 2015, swimming skills are assessed based on the achievement of the highest learning outcomes. This includes jumping into deep water, swimming for 100 metres doing the breaststroke, diving, picking up something from the bottom of the pool with one’s hands, treading water and changing positions for 3 minutes, and thereafter, swimming for 100 metres doing the backstroke, and getting out of the water. This can be achieved if the number of classes in basic swimming training are increased from the current average of 24 to 40; whereas it is assumed that one instructor has up to 12 children at a time in each group.


Who should receive the grants and how to use them?

The grants are allocated to the local governments based on the number of students. The grant recipients must use the funds to conduct compulsory basic swimming training specified in the physical education curriculum at study level I (1st to 3rd grades), including:

  • To cover the rental and/or operating costs of swimming pools; 
  • To cover the salaries of basic swimming training coaches and/or other trainers; 
  • To cover the students’ transportation costs;
  • To organise additional instruction for basic swimming training.


The Estonian Swimming Federation, as the umbrella organisation responsible for swimming activities in Estonia, helps to coordinate the basic swimming training, to conduct training for the basic training instructors, and to prepare study materials. Read more:


Jarko Koort
Adviser of the Sports Department

Telephone number +372 628 2239


Last updated: 14 January 2020