British army recruits can barely read and write
The recruitment crisis in the British army has reached another bizarre milestone with the revelation that commanders are enlisting recruits with the reading age of a five to seven-year-old.
The Sun newspaper is reporting that “desperate” army chiefs have signed off on the policy of recruiting near-illiterates, presumably to make up for the shortfall in recruitment.
According to the Sun, the latest available figures for army recruitment, covering the period 2016-2019, show 4,240 soldiers had the reading ability of nine to 11-year-olds.
In a shocking revelation fifty had literacy levels of a five to seven-year-old, in direct contravention of established military rules.
Currently the army forbids recruitment below Entry Level Two, which corresponds to the seven to nine-year-old-range.
The classification is all-important as according to the National Literacy Trust (an independent charity working to improve literacy rates) adults below Level Two struggle to read labels on food and medicinal products.
The Sun quotes a source as claiming: “This shows how desperate the army has become”.
“Recruits need some degree of education to communicate, grasp ideas and understand operational briefings … A lot of equipment is also quite complex and they will need a decent grasp of English to understand instruction”, the source added.
This latest revelation about the British army’s low-quality recruits fits a pattern of increasingly strange and inappropriate recruitment campaigns.
In January 2019 the army generated negative headlines after one of its recruitment campaigns called on “snowflakes, selfie addicts, class clowns, phone zombies, and me, me, millennials” to join up.
A year later the army hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons again after it distributed posters and adverts targeting “social media addicts”, “gym junkies” and “binge drinkers”.
The British army has been struggling with recruitment for three decades as more and more young Britons shun the institution for a variety of social, cultural, political and economic reasons.
At a socio-cultural level, the UK’s whole-hearted embrace of liberal individualism has been inimical to the prospects of a closed institution like the army.
As of July 2019, the British army commanded 74,440 full-time and fully-trained troops, down from 76,880 from the same period in 2018. The Ministry of Defence’s target is to operate an army comprised of at least 82,000 troops.
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