Militarism in classrooms now on MPs’ agendas

By agency reporter
October 3, 2018

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson's proposal to expand school cadet units and fund 2,000 new 'cyber cadets' a year prompted Conservative headquarters to advise MPs at the Tory party conference this week to prepare for awkward questions about militarism in classrooms. Quakers in Britain and key partners, like ForcesWatch and Veterans for Peace, have been challenging the government about militarism in classrooms for years.

While the public is increasingly concerned about intrusion into children's lives, the government has chosen not to enable meaningful debate about the consequences of uncritical bias.

In a leaked memo, MPs were told to reply that they associate the military with "positive values" such as "loyalty, resilience, courage and teamwork". This preemptive advice shows the government is aware of public unease about the militarisation of youth.

Ellis Brooks who works on Peace Education for Quakers in Britain says, “This comes at a time when Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, is calling for increasing military interventionism. For war to proceed the government needs ongoing public support. One way to get that support is to expose children to militarism without any exploration of the morality or danger of war."

Quakers work through peace education to ensure young people are equipped with the facts and critical thinking skills to evaluate for themselves what will make the world safer.

* War School,  a provocative documentary looking at militarism in classrooms will be launched in London on Friday, 19 October at 6.30pm in Friends House (opposite Euston Station) 173, Euston Road

* More about War School  and  locations of screenings here

*  Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 23,000 people attend 478 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

* Quakers in Britain http://www.quaker.org.uk/


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