Speaking today in Rakvere, Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu unveiled a program of reforms for national defense teachers that the ministry says is aimed at bringing teaching of the subject to all Estonian schools.
Reinsalu said in his opening remarks to the teachers that the Ministry of Defense’s four-year operational program will institute reforms that will make the subject of national defense more appealing and offer schools more support.
“We want all Estonian schoolchildren to have the opportunity to partake in national defense instruction, as this is the best way to grow young people’s will to defend their homeland and provide them with a secure future,” said Reinsalu.
Reinsalu said the new operational program provides for a new national defense teacher stipend meant to allow teachers to acquire more know-how as well as to recognize their work in improving students’ involvement on matters of national defense.
Support for schools will also be increased through field trips and camps for children, where teachers could use "more engaging teaching methods" for national defense classes.
“The new program sets the goal of making national defense interesting and full of opportunity for students and to reward the initiative and enthusiasm displayed by national defense instructors in teaching the subject,” said Reinsalu.
The Ministry will be supporting schools in procuring the textbooks and study materials needed for national defense studies, along with weapons simulators, and will also help organize the camps and field trips. Besides the national defense teacher enrichment seminar held every fall, the Ministry of Defense is organizing, in cooperation with the University of Tallinn, courses for national defense teachers where both working national defense teachers and Tallinn University students who choose the course as a second major can gain knowledge and experience.
In the 2012-2013 academic year, national defense studies were offered by 149 general educational and vocational schools across Estonia.
At the two-day seminar beginning in Rakvere today, the teachers are also getting an overview of the National Defense development plan for 2013-2022 and cyber security. In addition, youth values and incentives for motivating them will be discussed. A total of 76 national defense teachers across Estonia are taking part in the seminar.