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Measures for improved quality of probation of officer cadets receiving political commissar training at regimental and divisional levels

Probation constitutes a crucial phase in the training process of military schools. A thorough research on measures to enhance quality of probation among officer cadets receiving political commissar training at regimental and divisional levels is of significant importance.

Over the past few years, the Political Academy, Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence has constantly adopted many new policies and solutions to improve quality of political commissar training at regimental and divisional levels, especially the officer cadets’ quality of probation. This probation aims to contribute to enhancing their practice competence and skills to meet leadership and command requirements for regiment and division political commissars. However, there remain several shortcomings and weaknesses in the officer cadets’ probation period. To promote the quality of probation among officer cadets receiving political commissar training at regimental and divisional levels at the Political Academy today, it is necessary to execute the following measures.

1. Implementing every phase and step during the probation process of officer cadets receiving political commissar training at regimental and divisional levels. First of all, their probation plans must ensure scientism and feasibility. The Tertiary Training Department represents an advisory unit to enable the Academy Party Executive Committee and Board of Directors to devise the cadets’ probation plans. These plans need to identify clear objectives, requirements, missions, content, methods, procedures, and time of expediting the cadets’ probation. These are legal documents guiding departments and units to manage, coordinate and instruct the cadets’ probation. To ensure scientism in planning, the Tertiary Training Department must concurrently undertake to do a number of jobs ranging from propaganda of the training goals and requirements to definition of aims, demands, tasks, content, methods, and procedures to coordinate and time the implementation. Strict execution of plans constitutes a decisive factor in ensuring the officer cadets’ quality of probation. The realization and coordination of the cadets’ probation plans involve many actors, notably the Academy and host units. Consequently, there should be close coordination between departments and units within the Academy, as well as between the Academy and host units to ensure completion of probation plans approved by the Director General.

On the basis of probation plans, the Tertiary Training Department takes the lead in coordination, control and management of relevant actors to ensure strict execution of the probation plans. The Political Department directs and instructs cadet battalions to develop plans to improve quality of party work and political work regarding the cadets’ probation. Special importance should be attached to provision of political announcements and needed data and documents to raise the cadets’ awareness of international, regional and national situations, the Party’s guidelines and standpoints, the State’s policies and law, the task of national defence, the hostile forces’ plots and ruses, subjects and partners, etc., enabling them to proactively perform their missions according to assigned positions and responsibilities in host units.

The Party executive committees and commanders of cadet battalions need to grasp and concretize specialized resolutions on the cadets’ probation, work out operation plans and assign every organization and individual specific missions, and set forth emulation targets and launch emulation movements to lay the foundation for each cadet to identify their probation plans and targets. They also have to conduct the propaganda of probation mission and invite cadres and lecturers to instruct and share their probation experience with the cadets.

The Faculty of Party Work and Political Work is to study and thoroughly perceive the directives and regulations of the Academy Party Executive Committee and Board of Directors, as well as instructions of functional departments; base on the Academy probation plans to guide the cadets to thoroughly comprehend content, missions, methods and procedures of probation; and supplement and strengthen the cadets’ needed knowledge and experience before their probation. Attention should be paid to fostering and facilitating the cadets’ good understanding of responsibilities, missions and procedures to address relations according to assigned positions during their probation periods. It is also necessary to regularly innovate the system of probation assessment to deal with excessive “inheritance” in succeeding training courses; assign cadres and lecturers to instruct cadres how to write their probation reports; and work with cadet battalion commanders to send cadres and lecturers to host units to assist cadets during their probation process.

Strictly managing and correctly assessing the cadets’ probation results. There is a need to assign head teachers and teachers to manage each group of cadets on probation according to each military region, army corps, service, arm, or stationed area of units. The Training Department works with other functional departments of the Academy to strengthen inspection of the execution of the cadets’ probation plans, content and programs in units. The department has to work closely with unit commanders to carry out unplanned inspections so as to keep a close eye on each cadet’s progress and timely detect and deal with shortcomings and difficulties during the cadets’ probation process. At the same time, it also works with other functional departments and the Faculty of Party Work and Political Work to develop criteria used for assessing probation results of the officer cadets receiving political commissar training at regimental and divisional levels. To evaluate correctly the cadets’ probation outcomes, there is a need to stick to the Academy’s training models, objectives, content, and programs; purposes, requirements and plans of probation; the cadets’ probation outcomes according to their assigned responsibilities and tasks; quality of probation reports; and appraisal of unit commanders while avoiding “all-round” appreciation, which cannot serve to classify each cadet’s probation result, thus failing to encourage the cadets to try their best during probation process.

2. Bringing into play the officer cadets’ activeness, proactiveness and creativity during their probation processes. It has proved that only by appropriate awareness of the importance of probation, and good senses and attitudes towards learning and accumulating experience can the cadets achieve good probation outcomes. Therefore, it is important to focus on improving the cadets’ consciousness and responsibility, and cultivating their proper momentum and attitudes towards learning. Notably, there is a need to perceive correctly the role of probation during the training process, and the probation objectives, requirements, content, responsibilities, and missions. To meet their defined objectives and requirements, each cadet should make good preparations and foster proactiveness, activeness, confidence, and high determination before each probation process. Special attention should be given to making preparations for probation knowledge and content, skills at recapitulating, exchanging and accumulating experience, and understanding the situations and missions of host units to proactively settling problems arising from the probation period.

The probation period represents process for the cadets to further enhance their study and training according to objectives and requirements of their courses. Each cadet, therefore, has to take the initiative in observing, studying and accumulating experience, practising skills, and applying knowledge acquired in handling practical matters in the realms of party work and political work in units. At the same time, they should proactively participate in guiding and conducting party work and political work according to defined probation plans. The probation process serves to cultivate and improve the cadets’ knowledge and skills at executing party work and political work according to the training goals.

During probation processes, the officer cadets must strictly comply with approved content and programs; clearly identify their probation responsibilities, missions and positions; well comprehend features, missions and major activities of party work and political work in their host units; heighten their responsibilities to units (the Academy); promote good unity and discipline; and proactively studying and persisting with their host units without feeling frustrated in difficulty. They also have to closely follow organizations, actively observe the political commissars’ activities with a focus on operations of the political organizations; apply the knowledge acquired in practice in a confident and flexible manner; set examples of matching word with deed; actively take part in activities in units; and properly address their relationships with commanders, organization, officers, and soldiers in units.

3. Close collaboration and synchronization between departments and units during the cadets’ probation processes. The units’ leadership and control play a crucial, decisive role in increasing the quality of probation, guiding development and perfecting the cadets’ dignity according to training goals and employment of graduates. They are also the links between officer cadets and the Academy, and places to foster and verify cadres’ knowledge, demonstrate unit commanders’ responsibilities for education and training. Consequently, commanders of host units undertake task assignment, provision of accommodation, allocation of cadres to support cadets, and notification of subordinate organizations and units in order to create favourable conditions for the officer cadets to perform their responsibilities and missions according to stated requirements. Unit commanders need to inform cadets on probation of their units’ operating situations, especially the party work and political work, and request these cadets to perceive the situations and missions of units so as to enable them to proactively implement these tasks according to their assigned positions and responsibilities. Officer cadets on probation must strictly abide by instructions and regulation of units and be under the control and management of regiment and division commanders and the political organizations of host units.

Good execution of the aforementioned solutions will contribute to improving training quality of regiment and division political commissars. This requires close collaboration and coordination between the Academy, cadets and units, in a bid for the common goal of making regiment and division political commissars capable of meeting the task of building Vietnam’s People’s Army in current era.

Snr.Col. Nguyen Truong Son, PhD, Institute for Military Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence

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