October 15, 2014 by realrenewal
Four Saskatchewan peace groups have launched a petition to challenge military training in Regina highschools. A media release from the coalition said Saskatchewan peace groups were shocked at the news that Regina high schools, both public and Catholic, will soon be offering a military training program to grade 11 and 12 students.
According to the peace groups, the army training program is likely to be introduced into other Saskatchewan municipalities, since it has the backing of the provincial government.
“Such a program will ultimately teach that violence is an appropriate method of conflict resolution,” said Florence Stratton, a member of both Making Peace Vigil and PeaceQuest Regina. “This is contrary to current education policy.”
The program, which is scheduled to start in February 2015, has two components: Canadian Studies 30, a required course for graduation; and Basic Military Qualifications 30L, an elective. Both components will be offered at the Regina Armouries during regular school hours. Students will earn two credits for taking the program. They will also be paid $2,000.
Ed Lehman, a member of Regina Peace Council, is most troubled by the money aspect. “It almost seems like a bribe,” Lehman said. “What teenager wouldn’t want to be paid $2,000 for going to school? Shouldn’t all subjects on the curriculum have equal value? Why not pay students $2,000 for taking Math or English?”
The peace groups ‒ PeaceQuest Regina, Regina Peace Council, Making Peace Vigil, and Saskatoon Peace Coalition ‒ are sponsoring a petition calling on the province to reverse the plan and, instead, implement a program to educate students about the importance of global peace and non-violent conflict resolution.
“At a time when violence is increasing around the world,” said Stratton, “it is especially important for students to be encouraged to find a peaceful way to end conflict.”