By the decision of the Minister of Defence, national defence camps will be organized by the Defence League
From the New Year, the Defence League will organize national defence camps to ensure that young people from all regions of Estonia have the opportunity to participate in national defence camps of uniform quality.
According to Minister of Defence Laanet, the Ministry of Defence has consistently helped to bring the curriculum of national defence education and the quality of education to a new level.
“It is important that all young people have equal opportunities and, as a result of the change, the camps will have common educational content and outputs, which unfortunately is not the case at the present time,” he said.
Laanet added that the work of heads of schools as well as general administration will be simplified, as schools will no longer need to request support from the local Defence League district, wait and pay for invoices for camp services and finally deal with reporting.
“The head of the school only needs to inform the head of the Territorial Defence District of the Defence League of their region by 1 October of this year regarding how many students wish to participate in the camp and when,” he added.
Laanet noted that the cost for holding the camps will remain the same. At the same time, schools can continue to choose a national defence instructor that they like.
Brigadier General Riho Ühtegi, the Commander of the Defence League, said that the Defence League is already involved in organising outdoor national defence camps today through the inclusion of resources and personnel, but the current arrangement does not clearly and unequivocally oblige the organisation to support the holding of camps.
“Based on the new model, this is clearly one of the tasks that belongs to the Defence League; all students will be provided with an identical camp from Tallinn to Põlva and Jõhvi to Orissaar,” said Brigadier General Ühtegi, adding that students can get acquainted directly with their local Defence League organisation to receive a better understanding of the concept of broad-based national defence.
He added that in the outdoor camps, young people will learn from experts in their field – Defence League instructors, professional servicemen, conscripts interested in teaching, as well as volunteers and representatives from other walks of life who are contributing to national defence.
“Pursuant to law, the aim of the Defence League is to increase the readiness of the people to protect Estonia”s independence and the constitutional order, based on free will and their own initiative. This is exactly the purpose that national defence camps must fulfil. And who knows, perhaps quite a few young people will find their way to becoming members of the oldest and largest voluntary national defence organization in Estonia,” said Brigadier General Ühtegi.
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