In January 1926, Dwight F. Davis (who was then the US Secretary of War) published a popular article in the Washington University Law Review. The article was entitled The Effect of Military Training on Education. It was inspired by the recent reform brought by the National Defense Act, which brought the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) to US colleges.
This measure was not welcome with enthusiasm back then. Military training in educational institutions seemed like something that would heavily distract students from their studying activities. Almost an entire century later, the ROTC programme is still active. It is offered at over 1700 US colleges and universities. Students receive army basic training and a scholarship to complete their degree.
What are its effects on education from today’s point of view?
Basic Training for Military is Actually a Leadership Programme
The ROTC college programme branches out to three categories:
- Army ROTC;
- Navy and Marine Corps ROTC; and
- Air Force ROTC.
All of these programmes are designed on leadership principles. Their main role is to prepare young adults for military service, but also train them how to be leaders. This is like an extended military camp that takes place in the field, as well as in the classroom. The graduates from these programme will be commissioned as officers in the Army, Navy, or Air Force.
These students still receive standard education, just like everyone else at their college. Military education and training are challenging. These students may need to rely on EduBirdie Canada service for academic papers when they do not have enough time to complete them. However, they are part of an additional rigorous programme that prepares them to become military leaders. This gives them an advantage. They are already making their steps towards a future career.
More People are Getting Educated
We cannot be talking about the effects of military training on education without mentioning this fact. Thanks to these programmes, more students get a chance to earn a college degree. When someone agrees to serve in the military after gaining a degree and participates in this program during college, they get financial aid and funds to repay loans.
A single year of education in US colleges costs over $20K at a public school and over $46K at a private school. Not all parents can manage to save such amounts of money for their sons and daughters to get educated. They have several options:
- Work throughout the studies. This will cover their living expenses, but not the extreme tuition fees.
- Gain a scholarship, which will cover part of the expenses.
- Get a loan that they will be repaying for years after graduation.
Scholarships are not easy to get, and loans come with long-term consequences. If someone is interested in serving in the military, they can combine their college education with this ambition. The Military will help them pay for school.
We should also talk about the fact that this programme contributes towards a more educated US Military. There has been an ongoing debate about the need for the military to focus on linguistics, since its participants have to speak several languages. They must also understand human psychology and they should be trained as leaders. College education makes that happen.
The Students get more Disciplined
This is an important point that Dwight F. Davis covered in his article from 1926. Military training subjects students to harsh or stricter discipline (than they may otherwise be used to). They have to contribute towards teamwork and showcase distinguished discipline as individuals. They learn how to manage their time in order to achieve challenging goals.
This skill finds its application in all aspects of life. It is less likely for a participant in a ROTC programme to waste too much time on Netflix, partying, and gaming when they have several tasks on their schedule. Military training teaches them that time is a limited resource that has to be used as wisely as possible.
Is there any Room for Criticism?
Critics say that the military is luring students into its services by offering to pay for their education. This makes sense. With the crazy prices of college education, some students may see this programme as their only option to gain a degree.
However, we cannot neglect the fact that most participants want to be in the military and they are using this programme to get a degree, too. It sets them on a career track, it makes them more disciplined, and it helps them to get the education they want.
BIO: Emma Rundle is a blogger, eBook author, and adventure traveller. The American education system is her main interest. She constantly explores new ways to make it better.