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Georgia Proposes Military Classes In Schools

President Michael Saakashvili holds a child in a military uniform in Tbilisi in August, during a ceremony on the first anniversary of the war with Russia.
TBILISI -- Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has said the country would introduce military classes in schools in 2011, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.

Saakashvili made his comment while speaking about problems in the country's education system and the need for reforms at a meeting with teachers and students in the southwestern city of Batumi on January 12.

Saakashvili's spokeswoman, Manana Manjgaladze, said on January 13 that the new course will aim to "stimulate soldierly spirit" and will include courses on civil defense and Georgian military history.

She said the courses will be taught by military veterans who will go through teacher-training classes and will be first introduced in Tbilisi schools.

Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia said today that in the new classes high-school students would have a chance to learn the basics of military discipline, major armament, the structures of armed forces, and even the handling of weapons.

Akhalaia added that the lessons would be more interesting than military classes that were taught during the Soviet period.

Manana Nachkebia, a member of the opposition New Rightists party, was critical of the new reform and called for a greater discussion of the proposal.

She said the government often tends to do things too hastily. Nachkebia said that the reform would be useless if it is just a campaign of the country's "patriotic camps."