“We’re also responsible for our state’s defence”: Scheme gives students credits for joining reserves

Photo: archive of University of Defence

A new programme at Prague’s Charles University is to give students credits for training with the Active Reserve, the Czech Army’s equivalent of the National Guard in the US. What is the idea behind the scheme? And doesn’t it represent a certain militarisation of society? I spoke to the programme’s initiator, Jan Kofroň of the Institute of Political Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

“We live in a relatively dangerous moment in our national history, in the history of Central Europe. And I think the defence of the Czech Republic, and our nation, if you like, is quite important.

“We know that typically younger people do not want to serve as much as we would like – or as the Czech Army or Czech society would like. So what we are trying to achieve is to provide some small benefit to those who have decided to take care of the defence of the Czech Republic.

“I don’t think that somebody would go into the Active Reserve just because of a few credits. But I think is a way to show that we appreciate their efforts, and that we are well aware that their service is of value for the broader society.”

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Author: Ian Willoughby