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For the first time, students will be competing in a national defence competition

25. September 2020 - 14:59
For the first time, students will be competing in a national defence competition
For the first time, students will be competing in a national defence competition

The Ministry of Defence and the University of Tartu Youth Academy concluded an agreement to organize the first nationwide national defence competition for upper secondary school and vocational education students, next spring.

According to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Kristjan Prikk, the competition has several goals, starting with supporting scientific and technological development, to introducing the connections between the field of defence and science, and cultivating the will to defend.

‘The purpose is to motivate students to acquire in-depth theoretical knowledge in the field of national defence, including the connections between national defence education and other subjects, such as mathematics, physics, history, geography, and social studies’, Prikk noted.

He added that it is no less important to arouse the interest of young people in national defence as a whole and to understand their role in it. ‘Estonian national defence begins with the will to act and the whole of society contributes to it with the aim of preparing residents to resolve a possible conflict and also prevent it through deterrence’, said Prikk.

According to Prik, the school plays a significant role in the development of students’ patriotic values. ‘As an elective, national defence education supports the development of the social values and patriotism mentioned in the upper secondary school curriculum, ensuring that students become ethical, responsible and active members of civil society’, he added.

The competition’s main target group is upper secondary and vocational education institution students who have completed national defence education in school, although younger students are also free to participate, if they are interested.

According to Riin Tamme, Director of the University of Tartu Youth Academy, the new competition gives students the opportunity to compare their knowledge and skills with those of their peers with similar interests.

‘With the competition, we want to show that national defence is much more than just crawling around in the woods. The field of defence needs sharp pencils with the ability to analyse and think critically, and with the ability to work independently. There are the competencies that we are developing in students with the new competition’, said Tamm.

He added that hopefully the national defence education competition will help young people to better prepare for their upcoming military service.

According to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Prikk, the national defence competition is a so-called pilot project, i.e. if there is serious interest, national defence Olympiads could also be organized in the future.

The subject competition is being organized by the University of Tartu Youth Academy, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Forces. The competition will take place on 7 April 2021, in the form of a 45-minute web-based test within the University of Tartu’s e-learning environment Moodle. Prizes will be awarded to the best participants.

National defence issues began to be addressed in general education schools in the 1990s, thanks in large part to enthusiastic teachers. Today, with the support of the Ministry of Defence, national defence is taught as an elective in 136 upper secondary schools and 20 vocational education institutions.

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