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In Britain where there are already serious shortages in the Armed forces people are always keen to squeeze a bit more out of this valued resource. The army is to be brought in to try and stem the spiralling effects of truancy and bad behaviour in Britain’s schools.

In a unique project - ‘Skill Force’ - between the department of Education and the Ministry of Defence, Army officers will take classes, organise one-to-one ‘tutorials’ for children with discipline problems and encourage non-academic children to take part in vocational schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh award and life-saving courses (sic).

The government officials stressed that the Army officers will not wear uniforms or be directly involve in discipline and will work alongside teachers rather than replace them. ‘What the army has is great leadership skills and it knows how to motivate people’, says one official

According to the officials Army officers are good role models particularly for young boys and that having them in the class room encourages children to perform better.

The scheme will be introduced to 13 local education authorities and is likely to be rapidly expanded this year. The MoD is keen to support the project as it can also use it as a way of introducing an Army career to pupils.

You may wish to find out more or make your views known by writing to:
Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP Secretary of State for Education and Skills,Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT
We would be interested in any replies you get.

america’s army
In the United states schools will now have to give names and address of pupils reaching recruiting age to the military so that a wooing process can begin. There like here the armed forces are not a popular career option even though politicians like to parade their war records or keep off the subject lest their avoidance of the draft during the Vietnam war is noticed.

In an effort to entice youngsters into the forces the US Army Office of Economic Manpower Analysis saw games as ‘a great way to communicate with the technically orientated, online community of young teenagers. The aim is to illustrate what life in the Army is like and what makes people more comfortable with and aware of the idea of enlistment’.

This is a game in which groups of youngsters play against each other. An interesting feature of the game is that the players on ‘both sides’ see themselves as good and heroic Americans while seeing their opponents as terrorists. One wonders if the US Army has noticed that in motivational terms this sleight of hand shows what is the case in most conflicts where both sides see themselves as the good guys.




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