LEST WE FORGET: David Cameron is planning a £50m First World War commemoration project including trips for schoolchildren to the Western Front.
Kay Barnett said there was educational and social value in sending delegations of pupils to the Western Front to visit the graves of those who died in Belgium and France.
The Prime Minister last week revealed plans for a "truly national" commemoration of the outbreak of the conflict, 100 years on, in 2014.
The £50 million project will include money for schoolchildren in England to make trips to battlefield sites.
He said every part of the UK should recognise the sacrifices made by those who laid down their lives in the conflict.
In addition to a day of remembrance on August 4 to mark the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of the war, Armistice Day (November 11, 1918) will be commemorated and major battles of the conflict will be remembered at various dates between 2014 to 2018.
Ms Barnett said: "In terms of history teaching it would be a valuable opportunity to give schoolchildren experience in this historical context
"I think it would be appro-priate to our Curriculum For Excellence, which is very much about making education interesting and interactive.
"What I also think is good about the plan is that pupils would come to understand both the detail and the con-sequences of war, and from that position will perhaps think more about their responsibilities as young citizens."
The senior history teacher at Fraserburgh Academy believes the First World War education plan could work as "an enhancement of what history teachers do at the moment".
He said: "There are pupils who will be studying these issues already and hopefully they will benefit from such a trip, it will give them a stronger relationship with the past."
However, the convener said she wanted to look closely at the detail of Mr Cameron's £50m plan. "First of all, we want to be sure the Prime Minister is considering sending Scots kids to the battlefields. We'd hate to think the plan was only drawn up for those south of the Border. And while this idea has real educational value, we would expect that it's about education for peace. We wouldn't want to see the idea dressed up in the Union Jack."
War veterans charity Gardening Leave has already argued that "perhaps more consideration [funding] should be given to those alive today", and Ms Barnett also weighs up the argument that it may be better to invest £50m in children's futures, funding schools, teachers and more social history.
"As education convener I am aware that education in Scotland is under attack and we need to keep on demanding education is funded, so teachers can teach," she maintained.
"But I don't want to set one thing against another here. We'll be looking at this proposal separately. We'll look closely at the detail, to make sure it's not about a plan to take people's minds off the recession or whatever, that it's not political.
"But that said, the plan to send pupils to the battlefields could really help in the learning about the reasons for war, and how relationships between nations have been formed."
Last week, Mr Cameron said it would be a "commemoration that captures our national spirit in every corner of the country, from our schools and workplaces, to our town halls and local communities". He com-pared the events in scale to this year's street parties to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The Scottish Government has said the contribution of soldiers should "never be forgotten".
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