75 years after the Fall of Singapore in the Second World War, a charity dedicated to keeping alive the memories of Far East Prisoners of War is launching a national education initiative for primary schools.
COFEPOW (Children and Families of Far East Prisoners of War) is to launch its Education Programme at the National Memorial Arboretum on Wednesday 15th February 2017.
The charity has two objectives, to provide and maintain a memorial to all British service personnel who were prisoners of war in South East Asia under Japanese Occupation during World War Two, and to advance the education of the public about prisoners of war in South East Asia under Japanese occupation from 1942–45.
The first objective was reached 12 years ago, when the charity unveiled its Memorial Building at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. With the launch of a competition for primary schools, COFEPOW is now developing its second objective.
Paul Watson, Chair of COFEPOW, said: “One of our functions at COFEPOW is to educate future generations so that our brave ancestors are never forgotten. As a result, we have created this exciting new initiative to help students understand what happened, whilst giving them the opportunity to experience different learning platforms to develop transferable skills for their future – skills such as confidence, teamwork, creativity, communication and working to deadlines.
“Members of COFEPOW are relatives of those who fought and were held captive in the Far East in World War Two. Whilst many of the prisoners are no longer with us, as relatives we saw first hand the lasting effects that the time in prison camps had on these men and women – both mentally and physically.
“We are all extremely proud of our loved ones for their war effort and we strive to ensure that what they went through will always be remembered and respected. By creating this competition, we feel we are helping the next generation to understand a little bit more about the Forgotten War.”
The COFEPOW National Enterprise Competition for Primary Schools will run from 11th November 2017 (Remembrance Day) to 15th February 2018 (the anniversary of the Fall of Singapore).
Working in teams, students will be tasked with preparing a television news report explaining that the war is over in the Far East and that all those held as prisoners will be released and sent home. In order to prepare their news report, students must find out as much as possible about the life of a Far East Prisoner of War.
Once complete, schools will need to send the filmed news reports on DVD to COFEPOW, who will judge all the entries and choose a winner. Students that take part will receive a Certificate of Achievement and the winning team will receive a special COFEPOW VJ Day 70th Anniversary Commemorative Medal for their school.
The programme was prepared in collaboration with Jayne Greene, who is experienced in producing education packages for schools and is a volunteer for COFEPOW.
If you are a teacher, school governor, or otherwise involved in delivering the national curriculum at primary school level, and would like to find out more about this new initiative, you are invited to attend the launch of the COFEPOW Education Programme at the National Memorial Arboretum on Wednesday 15th February 2017, commencing at 1pm.
To book your place at the launch, please email COFEPOW Secretary Alan Wills at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for further details. More information for teachers is available here.