"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Military Training in Basic Education

I went through military training during my high school and college years in the Philippines. Presidential Decree 1706 signed by Ferdinand Marcos made national service an educational requirement. The requirement was removed in 2002, but recently, current Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte announced his intention to make military training mandatory again.

Above copied from the Philippine Star
The Defense Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, was quoted in the news as stating that military training in schools "instills patriotism, love of country, moral and spiritual values, respect for human rights and adherence to Constitution." Of course, Lorenzana did not offer any evidence to support his statement, because if he did, he would find that research actually says otherwise.

Here is a finding from Germany:








    Military experience is an important turning point in a person’s life and, consequently, is associated with important life outcomes. Using a large longitudinal sample of German males, we examined whether personality traits played a role during this period. Results indicated that personality traits prospectively predicted the decision to enter the military. People lower in agreeableness, neuroticism, and openness to experience during high school were more likely to enter the military after graduation. In addition, military training was associated with changes in personality. Compared with a control group, military recruits had lower levels of agreeableness after training. These levels persisted 5 years after training, even after participants entered college or the labor market. This study is one of the first to identify life experiences associated with changes in personality traits. Moreover, our results suggest that military experiences may have a long-lasting influence on individual-level characteristics.

    Military training results in lower levels of agreeableness. Psychologists define agreeableness (from Wikipedia) as:

    Agreeableness

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Agreeableness is a personality trait manifesting itself in individual behavioral characteristics that are perceived as kind, sympathetic, cooperative, warm and considerate.[1] In contemporary personality psychology, agreeableness is one of the five major dimensions of personality structure, reflecting individual differences in cooperation and social harmony.[2]
    People who score high on this dimension are empathetic and altruistic, while a low agreeableness score relates to selfish behavior and a lack of empathy. Those who score very low on agreeableness show signs of dark triad behavior such as manipulation and competing with others rather than cooperating.
    Agreeableness is considered to be a superordinate trait, meaning that it is a grouping of personality sub-traits that cluster together statistically. The lower-level traits, or facets, grouped under agreeableness are: trust, straightforwardness, altruismcompliancemodesty, and tender-mindedness.[3]

    Agreeableness seems to be a very important trait. Low agreeableness is associated with "selfish behavior and lack of empathy". And this is what military training in basic education really accomplishes. Compulsory military training in schools is an anathema to basic education.



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