NewsGerman Minister Advocates for Civil Defense Training in Schools

German Minister Advocates for Civil Defense Training in Schools

RIBNITZ-DAMGARTEN, GERMANY - MARCH 15: View of the Richard-Wossidlo-Gymnasium in Ribnitz-Damgarten on March 15, 2024, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. Police arrived at the school because of a social media post. The school administration called the police on suspicion of a 16-year-old student having posted a video on the social media channel TikTok a few months ago. The accusation of posting state-protection-related content was not confirmed. (Photo by Frank Soellner/Getty Images)
RIBNITZ-DAMGARTEN, GERMANY - MARCH 15: View of the Richard-Wossidlo-Gymnasium in Ribnitz-Damgarten on March 15, 2024, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. Police arrived at the school because of a social media post. The school administration called the police on suspicion of a 16-year-old student having posted a video on the social media channel TikTok a few months ago. The accusation of posting state-protection-related content was not confirmed. (Photo by Frank Soellner/Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | Frank Soellner
5:55 AM EDT, March 17, 2024

According to Bettina Stark-Watzinger, the German Minister of Education, there is a need for schools to equip young people with the skills to manage crisis situations, advocating for the inclusion of civil defense exercises in the curriculum.

Stark-Watzinger, a Free Democratic Party (FDP) politician, expressed to the Funke media group newspapers that preparing for crises – ranging from pandemics and natural disasters to war – is a societal imperative. She highlighted that in other countries, like the United Kingdom, disaster preparedness activities are seamlessly integrated into the daily school schedule, suggesting that Germany could benefit from adopting a similar approach to bolster student resilience.

She further emphasized the importance of increasing interactions between schools and the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces. Stark-Watzinger believes that visits by young officers to schools could serve an educational purpose, providing insights into how the Bundeswehr contributes to national security. She finds it puzzling that there are objections to this initiative and sees it as an opportunity for students to learn about potential threats to freedom and ways to navigate those threats, without necessarily making it a separate subject. The aim is to convey risks in a manner suitable for younger audiences and to provide strategies for managing fear and anxiety.

However, the Minister of Education stands against reinstating compulsory military service, considering the current discourse on universal civil service to be misplaced. She references the suspension of compulsory military service on constitutional grounds and advises against shifting focus away from the critical need of adequately equipping the Bundeswehr to maintain its defensive capabilities.

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