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Connection between schools and units during the education and training process

Renewing the training programmes and contents within military schools is necessary to meet the requirements set by the military build-up in the new situation. The outcome of education and training at schools will help provide important human resources for units’ performance of their task. Hence, it is essential to undertake researches on a reform in the training programmes and contents as well as on a connection between schools and units.

When he was alive, President Ho Chi Minh always believed that “theory must go hand in hand with practice,” adding that “sectors are like consumers. Training commissions are like producers. Goods must meet the consumers’ need. If consumers need a large number of vehicles while more teapots are manufactured, goods would be unsaleable.” Being imbued with Uncle Ho’s teachings, the entire Military has always placed emphasis on organising synchronous, intensive training courses relevant to combat readiness and reality. Schools across the Military have grasped and well implemented the training guidelines, viewpoints, principles and connections in order to provide a contingent of cadres for the military build-up, national defence consolidation, and the Homeland protection. Besides, the training programmes and contents at schools have been made relevant to grass-roots level units’ practical conditions and task.

Together with other military schools, over the years, the Infantry Officer College No.2 have always attached great value to renewing the training programmes and contents and establishing a close connection between itself and units, thereby raising the quality of training cadres, better meeting the practical requirements, being highly appreciated by units. Grounded on the College’s good results, several lessons have been drawn as follows.

First, grasp foundations for renewing the training programmes and contents and forming a connection between schools and units. The Party’s guidelines and the State’s law and policy on the Homeland protection, the military build-up, and national defence consolidation in the new situation provide an important foundation for education and training, particularly the programmes to train battalion-level officers. In fact, the ultimate goal of training within military schools is to train a pool of “both red and expert” cadres capable of holding their positions at military units. To improve the quality of those cadres, it is necessary to adopt a large number of measures synchronously, especially renew and make the training programmes and contents relevant to reality, and connect schools with units.

Reality is the yardstick for measuring the truth. Thus, it is essential to analyse the relationships between theory and practice as well as between schools and units to identify the goal, requirements, and outcome of military schools’ training work. Units will use the products of schools and they will give the most comprehensive, objective and accurate feedback on the quality of education and training. Therefore, schools must maintain a close relationship with units to grasp units’ needs, evaluate the quality of graduates, and anticipate the development in the war for defending the Homeland (if occurred). According to the findings of surveys, basically graduates from military schools have satisfied the training goals and requirements and fulfilled their assigned task; many of them have successfully fulfilled their task and shown potential for development in units. However, several graduates’ adaptability to units, “soft skills,” fitness, and capacity to train soldiers to use weapons and technical equipment, particularly the new-generation ones have been limited. The primary reason is that there is a certain difference between schools and units.

Second, there should be solutions to renew the training programmes and contents and create a link between schools and units. To that end, over the years, the Infantry Officer College No.2 have taken synchronous measures to renew its training programmes and contents, combine theory with practice, and connect itself with units. In the process, the College has frequently grasped resolutions and directives by the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defence on combat training and education in the new situation, while comprehending the requirements for military cadres’ qualities, ability, and working style. Under the direction from the General Staff, the General Department of Politics, and competent offices of the Ministry of National Defence, the College has identified the guidelines for a reform in the training programmes and contents as well as for a connection between itself and units. More specifically, it has adhered to the orientations by higher echelons, supplemented units’ needs, and overcome weaknesses of its graduates to meet grass-roots level units’ task requirements.

After graduating from the College, most of the cadets will be deployed to military units in the South. Hence, the College has attached importance to renewing and making its training contents relevant to the South’s geographical characteristics (many channels and long coastline), anticipating objects of struggle for designing tactical lectures, and developing training projects and situations in accordance with Southern provinces. Due attention has been paid to undertaking researches on the planning and building of defensive zones as well as on local armed forces’ typical combat method to formulate coordination projects effectively. In addition, the College has grasped the situation and the task of the Military and units to opportunely supplement its training programmes and contents properly. It has regularly consulted units and received their opinions on its weaknesses and improper contents. In return, units have frequently cared about the College’s education and training task, proposed their practical issues and needs, and directly advised the College on solutions to renew the education and training process.

Furthermore, the College has placed emphasis on improving the quality of instructors and managerial cadres as the core force in renewing the training programmes and contents via teaching, scientific research, management, and deployment to military units. After the training programmes and contents are renewed, the main task of instructors is to ensure that their cadets would be able to transform academic knowledge and skills acquired at the College into the organisational and commanding capacity at military units. Meanwhile, managerial cadres play an important role in maintaining regulations on cadets’ study and helping cadets improve their qualities and necessary skills together with the academic knowledge to successfully fulfil their task at military units after graduation. To enable its instructors and managerial cadres to play a core role in renewing the training programmes and contents, the College has concentrated on training and using cadres and instructors and creating a favourable condition for them to hold positions at military units so that they would enhance their commanding capacity and grasp the actual condition of units and the quality of graduates from the College.

Due attention has been paid to closely combining a reform in the training programmes and contents with a renewal of teaching and learning method. Consideration has been given to improving the skills which graduates from the College had not possessed to keep pace with the development of reality in the new condition. To enhance graduates’ adaptability to units and their soft skills and fitness, the College has standardised its training programmes and contents, cut off the overlapping contents, reduced the duration for theory, increased the duration for practice, raised the quality of tactical and infantry combat training, and combined field training courses with the mass mobilisation work. In the process of exercises, great weight has been added to cooperating with forces in areas in carrying out the combat task so as to broaden cadets’ knowledge of operations within defensive zones. At the same time, due regard has been paid to renewing the training organisation and method, consolidating and enlarging training grounds, improving cadets’ soft skills, and organising extra-curricular activities. Additionally, the College has undertaken researches on combat lessons, hands-on experiences, and the party and political work during combat, while requiring its staff members to share their commanding and managerial experiences with cadets or include such experiences in their lectures for cadets. The College has also proactively invited cadres who had participated in combat or have ever occupied leading and commanding positions at offices and units both inside and outside the Military to deliver special topics to its instructors, cadres, and cadets.

In addition to personnel (instructors, managerial cadres, and cadets), logistics and technical support plays an important role in the quality of training. To make the training programmes and contents relevant to units’ practical condition, the logistics and technical work at schools must be carried out properly. First of all, classes at schools must be organised in accordance with the structure of units. The system of training grounds must be upgraded and made relevant to reality. Importance should be attached to increasing field training courses, organising visits to units, and updating information on new-generation weapons and equipment for cadets. Military schools should regularly organise delegations of cadres and instructors to offices and units to grasp their practical condition as the basis for designing textbooks and documents. Besides, they should apply information technology, simulation software, database, and smart equipment to teaching and learning.

Renewing the training programmes and contents as well as connecting schools with units represent an objective requirement within military schools in general, the Infantry Officer College No.2 in particular. Thus, it is vital to implement the measures mentioned above to make contributions to raising the quality of military cadres for the military build-up and the Homeland protection.

Maj. Gen., Associate Prof. VU THANH HIEP, PhD

Deputy Commandant of the Infantry Officer College No.2

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