On Friday evening the launch event for a new campaign to ban military recruitment in Welsh schools will be held at the Temple of Peace
The main tool of the campaign is a petition calling on the Welsh Government to ban military recruiters from schools. Campaigners are hoping to build on increased legislative powers granted to the Assembly following on from last year’s referendum.
Event organisers are calling on the Assembly Government to “take an ethical lead and ban such practices as unacceptable in the Welsh education system,” bringing Wales in line with international standards.
The MOD argues that they do not actively recruit in schools just visit to ‘raise awareness’. However campaigners argue that young people are not being given the full picture of what life in the military can be like and that more deprived areas, are especially targeted.
In 2008, members of the biggest teaching union the NUT voted against military recruitment in schools where ‘misleading propaganda’ is used after concerns young people were not getting balanced information.
A report published in 2007, written by researcher David Gee said although eduction about the military is valuable when a range of views are presented, which may include visits from the armed forces, it should not “glamourise warfare and should be de-linked from recruitment and promotional activity…Further, it is reasonable to expect schools to include peace education in the curriculum alongside any input from the military.”
The UK is under outside pressure on military recruitment. In 2008 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child gave figures indicating recruits under the age of 18 represent approximately 32% of the total intake of the UK Armed Forces. It recommended the UK reconsiders, “its active policy of recruitment of children into the armed forces and ensure that it does not occur in a manner which specifically targets ethnic minorities and children of low-income families.”
The campaign launch is at 7pm on Friday 1 June at the Temple of Peace, Cathays Park and speakers will include Stephen Thomas chair of CND Cymru.