National defense camps to be bigger than previously
The Defense League will be tasked with organizing national defense camps for students starting from next year. The camps will be bigger and last for two and a half days. While most national defense teachers are also members of the Defense League, NGOs currently in charge of organizing camps will likely find themselves out of work.
The field camp is the most attractive part of national defense education. The camps are currently organized by various parties, including nonprofits, the Defense League, National Defense Academy. The camps can last anything from a few days to a full week, "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.
The Ministry of Defense pays for the camps through the Defense Resources Board. The sum for this year is €460,000.
"Whether a camp lasts two days or four makes a major difference in expenses," said Anu Rannaveski, head of the military service department of the ministry.
The ministry will change the current system next year. The field camps will be organized by the Defense League as the ministry is not happy about what is happening in some of the camps.
"We need to ask whether all of these activities should be covered from the national defense budget. /…/ They vary from paintball to dinner parties," Rannaveski explained.
The camps are the responsibility of the Defense Resources Board while its officials do not manage to inspect all the camps.
"The board carries out odd inspections. They cannot inspect all camps as there are a lot of them – we have almost 6,000 kids every year," Rannaveski said.
The Defense League has a plan for national defense camps and is currently working on curricula. National defense teachers will continue to work in the camps.
"Over half of the people currently in charge of the camps are Defense League members. The role of national defense teachers is not going anywhere," said Brig. Gen. Riho Ühtegi, commander of the Defense League.
Indeed – most national defense teachers are Defense League members. What will change is the role of NGOs currently in charge of organizing most camps.
"We have a universal structure – the camps will last two and a half days plus shooting training for which there will be separate outings. The camps will be bigger than they are currently," Ühtegi said.
"As concerns these NGOs, there is little to be done. The ministry is free to pick service providers," he added.
National defense education is among the three most popular subjects among students, information from the Ministry of Education and Research suggests.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski