Mil­i­tary train­ing pro­gram dull

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

Me­dia re­ports say some mil­i­tary of­fi­cers beat up high school stu­dents dur­ing a mil­i­tary train­ing pro­gram in a town in Hu­nan prov­ince. Al­though some peo­ple ar­gue that stu­dents should not be sub­jected to mil­i­tary train­ing to avoid sim­i­lar in­ci­dents, the fact is that such train­ing pro­grams help stu­dents to get a gen­eral idea about na­tional de­fense and de­velop the col­lec­tive spirit. The real ques­tion is how to make such train­ing pro­grams friend­lier and more effective, says an ar­ti­cle in China Youth Daily. Ex­cerpts:

Many coun­tries have com­pul­sory mil­i­tary train­ing pro­grams for stu­dents to en­hance their aware­ness about na­tional se­cu­rity. Most Western coun­tries are part of the scout move­ment. Boys and girls between the age of 6 and 20 (in sep­a­rate groups) un­dergo train­ing to help their phys­i­cal, men­tal and spir­i­tual devel­op­ment so that they could play con­struc­tive roles in so­ci­ety. They are also taught ba­sic mil­i­tary skills, es­pe­cially sur­vival skills.

China in­tro­duced the mil­i­tary train­ing pro­gram for school and col­lege stu­dents in the 1950s. The prob­lem is that the pro­gram, usu­ally for two weeks, is full of mo­not­o­nous ac­tiv­i­ties such as phys­i­cal drills, singing rev­o­lu­tion­ary songs be­fore each meal and learn­ing how to fold a quilt into a “tofu block”. No ef­fort has been made to make the train­ing ses­sions in­ter­est­ing enough to cap­ture young peo­ple’s minds.

At the train­ing pro­gram in the Hu­nan town, the mil­i­tary of­fi­cers— who later turned out to be bel­liger­ent el­e­ments from the re­serve force— were re­port­edly drunk when they beat up the stu­dents. This shows there was no su­per­vi­sion over the se­lec­tion of of­fi­cers for the pro­gram.

Per­haps mil­i­tary of­fi­cers them­selves need to un­dergo some train­ing on how to deal with young­sters who are not re­cruits, and only those qual­i­fied for the task should be se­lected to train stu­dents. And train­ing ses­sions should be de­signed in ways that keep stu­dents’ mind and body oc­cu­pied. If the prac­tice of teach­ing mech­a­nized phys­i­cal ex­er­cise con­tin­ues, the train­ing pro­gram will be just a waste of time both for stu­dents and mil­i­tary of­fi­cers.

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