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Monday, September 21, 2020, 09:48 (GMT+7)
Measures for raising the quality of master-level training at the Army Academy

Master-level education is one of the most important tasks of the Army Academy. The successful fulfilment of this task will greatly contribute to improving the quality of cadres across the Military and satisfying the requirements set by the Homeland construction and protection in the new situation.

The Army Academy is a large centre for personnel training and scientific research within the Military. In the process of performing its task, the Academy has always attached great value to raising the quality of master-level training. After more than 30 years of undertaking the task of postgraduate training, the Academy has affirmed its status and prestige via the training quality within the Military and National education systems. Over 1,000 cadres across the Military have undergone master-level courses on military art at the Academy. After graduating from the Academy, they have successfully fulfilled their assigned task. Its training quality has been, therefore, highly appreciated by the Ministry of National Defence and units within the Military.

In the upcoming years, the requirements set by the task of master-level training will be more demanding especially when the 4th industrial revolution greatly impacts on national defence and security. The advent of hi-tech, smart weapons and artificial intelligence will lead to a considerable change in combat method, forms of warfare and particularly military art. Besides, there will be a lot of transformations in the global and regional situation while ethnic and religious conflicts, local wars and cyber wars will be more intense and complex. Against that backdrop, Master’s graduates from the Academy must have comprehensive knowledge and flexibly apply it to training, combat readiness, teaching, and scientific research so as to enhance the Military’s synergy and combat strength and meet the requirements of the Homeland defence in the new situation. For the sake of the raised quality of master-level training at the Army Academy in the upcoming time, it is necessary to focus on a number of basic measures as follows.

First, frequently conduct the work of propagation and education to raise cadres and cadets’ awareness of master-level training’s goal and requirements. This measure plays a decisive role in enhancing the quality of master-level training. Thus, the Academy’s Party Committee and Board of Directors will keep grasping resolutions and directives by the Party, the Central Military Commission, the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Education and Training on master-level training. Grounded on those documents, all-level party committees and commands should develop specialised resolutions and take synchronous measures together with practical targets. The Postgraduate Cadet Management Unit and the Postgraduate Education Office should grasp the situation during pre-Master’s courses to work towards proper measures for propagation and education. Doing so will help raise cadets’ awareness, build their learning motivation, and encourage them to overcome all difficulties and attain the training goal set by the Academy. Besides, it is important to actively criticise and strictly handle the signs of subjectivity and self-contentment or the lowering of the master-level training goal and requirements.

Second, keep renewing the training programme, contents, forms and methodology. In fact, at present, the programme for master-level training should continue to be renewed and made more relevant to military developments. Therefore, the Academy should review, adjust, supplement and complete its master-level training programme and contents so that it could improve its cadets’ knowledge of military art and make them capable of working independently, thinking creatively, detecting and settling military issues. A reform in the training programme and contents must be based on Vietnam’s military science and art and appropriate to our Military’s organisational structure and materiel, together with the selective acquisition of global military art. In this regard, emphasis should be placed on undertaking researches into challenges and threats to the military-defence sector as well as into forms and methods of warfare in order to propose the specific training contents at tactical level in a relationship with campaign and strategic-level issues. The training contents must be standard, comprehensive, and militarily specialised, while step by step keeping pace with the development of modern military science and art. Due regard should be paid to removing the overlapping contents, reducing learning duration in class, increasing self-study duration, and updating cadets on new knowledge.

In addition, due attention should be paid to adhering to directions by the Ministry of National Defence to effectively implement education and training cooperation programmes with academies and universities both at home and abroad, undertaking researches on advanced military education patterns around the world, and receiving modern training and management technologies. International criteria should be applied to renewing the training programme and scientific researches, particularly standardising instructors’ knowledge of foreign languages to meet the requirements set by training and research in the new period. Cooperation in personnel training for traditional friends and members of the ASEAN should be in accordance with the Party’s guidelines and directions by the Ministry of National Defence on military diplomacy in order to foster defence cooperation and diplomacy.

At present, the length of a master-level course is 2 years; hence, it is vital to achieve a drastic reform in teaching and learning methods, with priority given to adopting modern, learner-centred approach, promoting cadets’ proactiveness and creativity, and eliminating the method of one-sided indoctrination. Significance should be attached to encouraging self-study as the basis for cadets to be able to study by their own for life. Doing so will enable cadets to approach new knowledge, improve their skills and develop their ability comprehensively. Lectures should be diversified and allow cadets to self-study and develop their opinions and proactively, thereby drawing their attention.

Third, continue bringing into play the role of instructors and managerial cadres as well as cadets’ proactiveness to improve the quality of training. The Academy will keep consolidating and developing a contingent of instructors, scientists and managerial cadres with sufficient quantity and proper structure, ages, specialities and successive workforce, while standardising the quality of this pool according to the State’s criteria and the regulations by the Ministry of National Defence. At the same time, it will continue well executing the Project on “consolidating and developing a contingent of instructors and educational managers in the period of 2020-2030, with orientation for the following years.” The Academy will formulate a plan on its instructors, while training and effectively using them, particularly its top experts, senior instructors, senior-level instructors, head instructors, excellent instructors and young potential instructors. Greater importance should be attached to improving instructors, scientists, and managerial cadres’ teaching methodology and knowledge of foreign languages and information technology in order to quickly standardsise this contingent. Emphasis should be placed on promoting the role of managerial cadres in maintaining the regulations on cadets’ class study and self-study.

There is a fact that when cadets are self-conscious, proactive and active in study, the quality and results of their study will be raised and sustainable. Thus, while standardising its pool of instructors and promoting the role of managerial cadres at all levels, the Academy should increase cadets’ motivation for self-study. More specifically, great value should be attached to encouraging cadets’ research and academic exchange, bringing into play their independent thinking and creativity, and enhancing their research, discussion, and practice. Furthermore, it is essential to train their flexible, creative, assertive thinking and make them capable of applying their knowledge to settling military issues. At the same time, the Academy will continue dispatching delegations to units to collect feedback and draw lessons on raising the quality of master-level training.

Fourth, regularly make investments in modernising equipment for study and scientific research to meet the requirements set by training and education. Currently, the Academy is being developed into a “smart school” capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution. More investments have been made in its facilities and equipment for study and scientific research in a basic, synchronous, modern manner. However, in the medium term, it is necessary to invest in completing information technology infrastructure, applying information technology to modernising management and training to ensure synchronicity, effectiveness and safety, and effectively exploiting the military networks, namely WAN and MISTEN. Emphasis should be placed on developing, supplementing and effectively using the lecture bank, dataset, and digital library to meet the demand for self-study. A favourable condition should be created so that cadets could easily access information and materials, thereby improving the quality of examinations, assignments, and dissertations.

The work of scientific research is also an important factor in raising the quality of master-level training. Therefore, it is necessary to formulate and synchronously implement plans for scientific research. Due attention should be paid to enhancing the work of propagation to attract the participation of a large number of cadres, instructors and cadets in scientific research. A focus should be placed on renewing the management of scientific researches in a qualitative fashion and effectively applying scientific products to directly serving the Academy’s training task and handling urgent issues within military units. Last but not least, due regard should be paid to ensuring the material and spiritual conditions for cadres to undertake researches while an open, transparent, democratic and healthy academic environment should be created as the basis for improving the quality of scientific research and master-level training.

Col. DAO VAN MINH, PhD, The Army Academy

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