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Thursday, January 24, 2019, 07:48 (GMT+7)
1st Army Corps Military School combines education – training with practical lessons in drilling and combat

1st Army Corps Military School is tasked with training NCOs (section commander, support weapon crew commander, etc), specialized personnel (medic, communication personnel, etc) for the Corps’ contingents. These are the main elements in training and leading recruits and performing specialized tasks, so that they must be capable, skillful and experienced in these missions. Based on the characteristics of its cadets, the requirements set for the work of building the Corps in the new situation, and the Party’s policy of reforming education – training, in recent years, the School Administration Board and Party Committee have issued various methods to comprehensively renovate its training programs to build a “standardized, exemplary” school. Notably, the work of combining education – training with practical lessons in drilling and combat is considered a core principle of the School.

Cadets’ training period

To do this, the School thoroughly studies resolutions and guidance on education and training issued by superior leadership, especially 11th Central Party Committee Resolution 29-NQ/TQ; Central Military Commission 86-NQ/ĐUQSTW; Ministry of National Defense Education – Training Policy 2011 – 2020 and 1st Army Corps Party Committee Resolution 449- NQ/ĐUQĐ on “Leadership over the improved quality of training between 2013 and 2020 and later years”. Grounded on these documents, the School leadership issued appropriated resolutions, action plans, and synchronized methods; heavily focusing on implementing “School and subordinate units as one”, “education – training combines with practical lessons in combat and the tasks of a main mobile Army Corps”. However, there have been many challenges posed to the School such as: the growing number of cadets and training formats, limited training infrastructure; and the lack of commitment in certain groups of soldiers, cadres and instructors due to various reasons, etc. Therefore, the School leadership implemented many solutions to strengthen its members’ morale and political awareness, building strong commitment and determination in the entire unit. At the same time, the 1st Army Corps Military School pushed ahead the development of a cultured and healthy education environment with strong discipline; and green – clean – scenic surroundings to create a favorable condition to fulfill its education – training tasks.

To integrate practical lessons in drilling and combat readiness activities into its education and training programs, the School actively reviewed, adjusted and complemented its curricula, and considered this a fundamental and decisive factor in fulfilling its assigned tasks. That said, based on the general training framework issued by Ministry of National Defense, cadet quality surveys and new requirements for training and combat readiness, every year, the School puts a lot of efforts in improving its training programs to ensure practicality and appropriateness for each training course and meet the requirements of the Corps’ training and combat readiness tasks. During its training process, the unit explicitly removed repeated contents, tackled the imbalance in knowledge blocks, and continuously updated new issues; it also combined teaching basic skills with providing combat, training and leadership experience. Until now, the School has basically managed to develop high quality curricula, kept a balance between political, military, logistics and technical knowledge suitable to projected combat targets and terrains, and the Corps’ organizational structure and equipment and armament. Notably, it has developed a “contingency bank” which includes over 200 A, A2 contingencies and has applied it to the training as the Corps leadership instructed. Also, cadets’ practice time is increased to 60% - 65%, 100% of section commander cadets had live firing training with all weapons currently equipped at section level. In general graduation exercises, 100% of support weapon crew commander cadets were also live-firing tested. In addition, medic cadets were sent to do internship at local hospitals, etc. Besides regular training, the School also heavily focused on improving the quality of general graduation exercises. It combined training for modern warfare contingencies with enhancing cadets’ fitness by long marches with heavy personal load. At the same time, a lot of efforts were also put on improving cadets’ independent combat leadership capability and weapon and equipment proficiency.

Not only renovated training programs, 1st Army Corps Military School also emphasized maintaining discipline and protocols and enhancing cadets’ physical strength to meet requirements of training and combat activities at their parent units. At the same time, training and learning methods were overhauled to be more learner-centered and fulfilling the Corps’ tasks was considered as the main goal. Faculties of the School closely combined basic training with specialized training; and textbook knowledge with experience learned from combat and training activities. Besides, the unit organized various workshops, forums and meetings to share and exchange teaching experience; and instructed its faculties to hold more academic activities such as “Methodology day”, trial teaching sessions and model teaching, etc. On the other hand, the School’s teaching staff and cadres were required to attend pedagogy training classes to update new teaching contents and enhance their proficiency in using newly equipped hardware such as: night vision scope, GPS devices, etc. Over the past few years, the work of reforming training methods at 1st Army Corps Military School has achieved major breakthroughs; with training based on specific contingencies, it has significantly improved cadets’ independent thinking and operational skills.

Shooting training

Needless to say, teaching staff and commanding officers are the decisive element in education and training in general and in educational and training reform in particular. Therefore, 1st Army Corps always gave special attentions to the work of building and developing its teaching staff and officer corps with high quality and appropriate quantity to meet task requirements in both short and long terms. In recent years, the School has proactively worked with 1st Army Corps’ administrative offices to develop personnel planning to 2015 with a vision to 2020. This plan aimed to build a standardized teaching staff and officer corps with sufficient number, and appropriate proportions of age and expertise; the plan also focused on building a teaching staff which mainly included highly qualified and young instructors. That said, besides selecting capable officers from other units in the Corps, the School also built its working staff by diversifying personnel training work, combining on-site training with sending instructors and officers to other military schools and academies to gain more qualifications. Notably, to effectively implement “School and units as one” and “School goes before units” policy, the School leadership sought permission from 1st Army Corps Command to send its personnel to other units in the Corps to gain more practical experience. This initiative provided the School’s personnel invaluable opportunities to apply their academic knowledge in real-life training and discover new issues emerged from real situations at the unit they were posted to make necessary updates to training curricula. Besides, the School continued to hold and improve the quality of Instructor Competitions and considered this an important solution to strengthen its teaching staff. Since 2013, there have been over 60 individuals awarded with the title of Good Instructor at School Level. In 2015, in the 5th Military Region and Army Corps Military School Instructor Competition, 1st Army Corps Team was ranked the 2nd with 07 members winning the title of “Good Instructor at Ministerial Level”. Up to now, nearly 100% of the School’s instructors have held bachelor and post-graduate degrees, capable of playing the main role in reforming and improving the unit’s education and training quality.

Besides the methods and solutions mentioned above, 1st Army Corps Military School also paid special attentions to logistical and technical work to bring training closer to reality. Due to financial limitation, the degradation of old equipment and weapons, and lack of investment in training infrastructure, the School had to closely monitor and carefully utilize its training budget to maximize its effectiveness. At the same time, the unit actively sought internal and external resources; and prioritized funding for constructing tactics and infantry combat training ground and firing range, etc. Also, the School encouraged its members to propose new ideas to improve teaching materials and advised superior commands to provide new equipment and armaments to utilize in training activities in a timely manner. With huge efforts and strong commitment, until now, the unit managed to construct 2 specialized classrooms and digital library, apply 2D and 3D simulation software to training, and complete the construction of a standardized training ground and firing range system.

With active and synchronized measures, 1st Army Corps Military School’s training quality is gradually being improved. Section and crew commanders, as well as technical personnel graduated from the School have quickly proven their capabilities in new units, actively participating in training and combat readiness operations and other duties of the Corps. A survey on the working quality of personnel graduated from the School over the past 5 years showed that 100% of NCOs capable of fulfilling their responsibilities and duties, 78% of them accomplished their tasks with good and excellent ratings.

In the coming years, 1st Army Corps Military School will continue to push ahead its reforms in education and training towards increasing effectiveness and practicality to contribute to the work of building a comprehensively strong Army Corps, capable of fulfilling its role as a strategic mobile unit.

Senior Colonel Le Quang Ngoc, 1st Army Corps Military School Political Commissar

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