Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Military Training for the Armenian Youth

Armenian schools are introducing military training within the classrooms and to their students at even younger ages, reports IWPR.
Although military training is compulsory for pupils aged 16 to 18 in Armenia, School No. 99 has introduced it for younger children. Groups involved in children’s rights are worried about the effect an early dose of militarism will have on young minds, not least because the 11 other schools where the government now plans to roll out a similar pilot scheme cater for children from vulnerable backgrounds.

photo is from IWPR website

According to the IWPR report, the teachers wanted to increase obedience and order in the classroom because the children were misbehaving. A headmastress explains that putting them in uniform seems to make them listen to their teachers and are more responsible in the classroom.

One of my favorite quotes within this report is from Sarkis who is only 11 years old. He explains,
“We are studying military science,” said Sarkis, 11. “We learn how to crawl round enemies and kill them."


Apparently, these military trainings are not only limited to the boys in the school but are also including the girls as well. Talk about gender balance.

Yet as Aelita explains,
“We’ve learnt how to handle a machine-gun, and studied some aspects of military strategy, tactics, and ways of surrounding and defeating an enemy… I’d say the girls are treated more leniently than the boys, and they get good marks more easily.”

Interestingly enough, this School no. 99 which is implementing this Military Science class is in a rather poorer region in Yerevan where many of the students come from single parent homes.

So here you have students who are coming from the rather poorer socioeconomic strata within Armenian society being educated and trained in this militaristic fashion at ages as young as 11 or 12 years old. Could this be a way to prepare the men for their compulsory service after they graduate school or university? Or is this yet another tactic to make these students become “obedient” and learn to not think critically? Surely, what these young students need to obtain are these tools to begin to think critically and analytically. Especially since this is an area which seriously needs some development in Armenia and its future generations. It seems that one of the Soviet legacies which have continue to remain prevalent today is the lack of critical thinking and questioning of authorities. One of the most difficult things is asking Armenians to fill out Evaluation forms, because they tend to only praise the event which took place or forum that was organized. No critical comments.

Sidetracked a bit there but I could not help it, I had to add that last bit.

In any case, the IWPR report is extremely interesting and there is much more interesting information so I recommend reading the rest of the report.

Should you be interested in hearing more about this issue…
IWPR is holding a Round Table at their office at 39 Yeznik Koghbatzi on August 2 at 14:00.


At 01 August, 2006, Anonymous Juan said...

I have 2 questions. I wish to visit both Georgia and Armenia. The problem is that I have darker skin. I am afraid that I look like a gypsy. I am mexican. I live in Glendale. Sometimes Armenians in Glendale get afraid of me and think I am gypsy or uzbek-turk muselman.

I understand why they are angry. There are also gypsies in Glendale and Los Angeles so sometimes gypsies mistake me for gypsy!

Please give me advice on how to safely visit both Armenia and Georgia. I also need advice on how to deal with agressive police. I also need advice on how to deal with problems of corruption.

I like Armenian art&culture very much. This is not a joke.

I am mexican but I like Armenia.

At 15 August, 2006, Blogger akhtamar said...


I guess the only thing I can say is that Armenia is very welcoming to Tourists. i don't think you will have any problem because of your dark skin. You will probably get some stares, as most foreigners get stares. But in either case, Armenia is relatively a safe place for tourists to visit- especially Westerners. I think you should not worry about your safety when you come. Of course, use your common sense as you do in any big city but that goes without saying.

That's all I can say. You can also visit for more tourist info.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home