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Schools should prep students for war, German minister says

March 16, 2024

Germany's education minister said students should be taught what to do in the case of wars, natural catastrophes or pandemics. She also said it was important they know how the army contributes to Germany's security.

Teacher Tatjana teaches children who fled war-torn Ukraine at the "Classroom for Ukraine" project on April 28, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.
German pupils must be prepared to deal with different types of crises and build "resilience," Stark-Watzinger saysImage: Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Students in Germany must be better prepared to face all kinds of potential crises and catastrophes, German Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger said.

A member of the business-focused Free Democrats (FDP), she stressed the importance of civil defense in comments to the Funke Media Group of local and regional newspapers on Saturday. 

What did the minister say?

Stark-Watzinger said schools should address civil defense and stressed that the goal must be "to strengthen our resilience."

"Society as a whole must be well prepared for crises — ranging from a pandemic, to natural disasters, to war," she said.

Children discuss life back in the classroom

Stark-Watzinger addressed civil defense drills done in schools in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, saying that Germany could also learn to do the same.

The minister also called for developing a "relaxed" relationship between school students and the armed forces. She suggested that military officers visit schools to explain what "the Bundeswehr does for our security."

She stressed that she could not understand the resistance to such practice.

Bundeswehr youth officers are currently permitted to visit schools in Germany when invited by teachers or school administrators. 

Stark-Watzinger also called for making young people in Germany familiar with the threats to freedom, to better equip them to deal with such dangers. This should not be its own school subject but a part of the curriculum.

rmt/sms (AFP, epd, KNA)

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