School children appreciate engaging manner Defence Educational Project is presented in class

Autor: Nuala Casey, Oldrich Holecek

An increasing number of schools have been taking part in a project that enables their pupils to become more familiar with the Czech Armed Forces, its mission, methods, and conduct of citizens in the event of an emergency.

The Defence Educational Project, prepared by the Ministry of Defence, has been focussing on Czech grammar school pupils since September 2013. ”The aim of the Project is to introduce and explain to pupils the general language related to national defence, the concept of the Czech Armed forces, its history, traditions, present tasks, and crisis management issues of both a military and non-military nature,” said Michaela Zacharova, one of the Project’s organisers at the Communications Department of the MoD. She added “We visited twenty four schools last year, and this year it will be thirty. The interest from schools is enormous, and next year’s schedule is now almost full.”

Soldiers or airmen visit schools and talk to children about the armed forces; what they do and their methods. They speak about their foreign deployments, biological and chemical survival methods and safety, health issues and the use of first aid. The programme not only includes lectures, but also demonstrations of military equipment and small arms, and displays of military skills. The pupils have the opportunity to test equipment, practice first aid, and try on helmets and other army accessories. For these demonstrations, soldiers routinely turn up at the schools in their specialized vehicles and station them outside, allowing pupils to examine the vehicles and ask questions.

”The soldiers' visits are very popular with the children. They receive first-hand knowledge on all aspects of military service, and we find that this method is far more interesting to them than, for example, their teachers explaining the concept in a more formal class environment,” said Ms Zacharova.

While the Project is, at present, only open to grammar school pupils, it will be further developed in the near future to include high school students.

March 18, 2015