Critique launched by Forces Watch and Quaker Peace & Social Witness against the UK Government's 'learning resource'

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This week Forces Watch from the UK launched a critique, with Quaker Peace & Social Witness, against the Government's 'learning resource' about the UK armed forces.

The report and video examines The British Armed Forces Learning Resource (published in September 2014 by the Prime Minister's Office and promoted to schools by the Department for Education) and finds that it:

  • is a poor quality educational resource, unsuitable for many of those it is aimed at (pupils aged 5 to 16)

  • is politically-driven

  • aims to promote recruitment into the armed forces and 'military ethos' in schools

  • presents a sanitised view of war and glorifies 'military values', providing no room for debate on alternatives to armed conflict

  • presents a partial and uncritical history of British involvement in war, ignoring debate over the morality and legacy of such conflicts.

Don Rowe, Citizenship Education consultant and former Director of Curriculum Resources at the Citizenship Foundation, says that,

Culturally, this is the kind of resource one gets in countries with less-than-democratic structures where civic education is used by governments to manipulate citizens into an uncritical attitude towards the state. In the UK we used to have a system of education which was 'at one remove' from the government and one of the reasons for this was precisely to prevent the possibility of authoritarianism through control of the education system. 

The report concludes:

The 'British Armed Forces: Learning Resource 2014' should not be used in schools as a learning resource, or should only be used in conjunction with alternative materials, and it should not be promoted as a learning resource by third parties....Furthermore, we consider that the document amounts to political interference in children's education. The Department of Education is failing in its legal duty, under the Education Act of 1996, to safeguard children from the promotion of partisan political views within schools and to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views.

Read the full report by Forces Watch.

Watch the film by Quaker Peace & Social Witness.

Source: Forces Watch

Geographic terms: 

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