Thursday, May 02, 2019, 11:54 (GMT+7)
On defence and security education for students nowadays

The requirements of Homeland defence in the context of international integration and rapid development of technology, particularly the impacts by the 4th industrial revolution on defence and security have posed the issues which need to be resolved urgently to the work of defence-security education in general, defence-security education for students in particular.

Over the past years, the work of defence-security education for students has been carried out seriously and gained the encouraging results which have proved the effectiveness and soundness of the Party and State’s strategy for the work of defence-security education in general, defence-security education for students in particular.

At present and in the foreseeable future, the task of Homeland defence has advantages and faces challenges; disputes over territories, seas, and islands as well as armed conflicts and local wars continue to be complex and unpredictable; non-traditional challenges are on the rise. The 4th industrial revolution will greatly impact on defence and security of each country and the international community. The advances in science and technology will lead to the manufacture of many new-generation weapons and equipment and the event of new type of warfare. Besides, the hostile forces are making every effort to sabotage our revolution with new dangerous, malicious plots and artifices. That situation imposes higher requirements on the work of defence-security education in general, defence-security education for students in particular. To meet those new requirements for defence-security education for students, in this article, we would like to introduce some basic measures as follows.

First, proactively orientating students’ ideology and action and building up their faith in the Homeland protection. This is a matter of importance and urgency nowadays. In the era of information technology, students could easily access various sources of information via mass media and on the Internet and social networks. This creates a favourable environment for the hostile forces and terrorist organizations to distort the Party’s guidelines and incite and entice young people. When our Party and State draw up and promulgate a number of laws, such as the Law on Special Administrative-Economic Units and the Cyber Security Law, the hostile forces take advantage of the social networks to conduct propagation and secretly gather a section of people to destabilize our political security and social order and safety. Besides, their propagation, exaggeration and absolutization of the power of hi-tech, new-generation weapons have considerably impacted on the youth’s faith in the Homeland defence, making them doubtful about our military-defence guidelines, military art, and existing weapons and equipment. Thus, the work of defence-security education should promote students’ patriotism and pride in national tradition, disseminate the Party and State’s viewpoints and new thought on the national defence mission and Homeland protection, provide timely, objective, scientific information about the hostile forces’ plots and artifices, hi-tech weapons, and partners and objects of struggle. Doing so will contribute to orientating students’ ideology and action; help them remain vigilant and alert against the hostile forces’ plots; build up the youth’s political will and faith in the renewal cause led by our Party as well as our country’s experiences, tradition, combat method, military art, and the strength of Vietnam people’s warfare and existing weapons and equipment.

Second, adjusting and supplementing the contents and programs of defence-security education for students in line with the development of reality. Over the past years, the contents and programs of defence-security education for students have been renewed and updated. The Circular 03/2017/TT-BGDĐT by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has stipulated the inclusion of several new contents in the programs, such as non-traditional security challenges and the work of preventing and combating non-traditional challenges in Vietnam; the use of a number of Vietnamese weapons. However, there remains imbalance between theory and practice; some contents have yet to be really relevant to educational levels, majors, and facilities of educational establishments, such as pistol shooting, infantry platoons’ offensive and defence. Therefore, to keep pace with the development of reality and meet the requirements of this subject, it is necessary to continue adjusting and supplementing the contents and programs of defence-security education, particularly updating them on the Party’s new viewpoints and thought on defence, security, and Homeland protection which have been included in resolutions, national strategies, specialized strategies, and newly-issued national defence-related legislation. At the same time, it is important to clarify basic and specialized knowledge on the military, defence, and security operations and ensure the connection of knowledge between sectors in accordance with students from various educational levels and majors as well as the objectives of the Law on Defence-Security Education. Due attention should be paid to increasing the duration for practice and skills via supplementary activities, especially visits to military units. In addition to renewing the contents and programs, it is essential to achieve reforms in refresher courses intended for teachers of defence-security education at educational establishments and centres for defence-security education. In fact, the refresher courses for this staff annually have yet to keep pace with the development of reality, and there has been no classification of groups of teachers to adopt proper contents, thereby leading to the ineffectiveness.

Third, actively renewing the teaching-learning method of defence-security education in a modern manner. In the foreseeable future, teaching and learning will be better supported by advanced technologies. Accordingly, despite the peculiarities, the teaching and learning method of defence-security education must be renewed to bring into play modern teaching-learning means and transform from one-sided approach into learner-centred approach. That necessitates teachers knowing how to exploit and apply information technology, foreign languages, simulation technology, images, and audio files to their electronic lectures. This approach will give learners a chance to experience visual, more attractive lectures and express their opinions, thereby stimulating their passion and creativity. To make this approach really effective, it is vital to speed up standardizing a contingent of teachers in terms of political qualities, professional competence, teaching skills, information technology and foreign languages. Notably, there is a need for launching postgraduate programs on defence-security education to meet the requirements set by reality.

Today, students could easily access sources of knowledge in any area via modern equipment and the Internet, which leads to the “weak” interaction between teachers and students; teachers’ role will be easily undermined if they do not equip themselves with specialized, comprehensive knowledge. Thus, teachers of defence-security education must be active in improving and accumulating their knowledge and teaching experiences and skills so that they could proactively suggest the issues and encourage students’ passion and motivation for study in the teaching process. Moreover, learners must change their learning method from passive acquisition of knowledge and skills into active application of technological advances in order for the self-improvement in knowledge and capacity. To achieve good results, learners should be flexible and creative in their study and further interact with other ones to exchange and broaden their knowledge. At the same time, they should actively raise their awareness and responsibility towards their self-study and improvement in group work skills.

Fourth, making more investments in facilities and teaching-learning materials to keep pace with the development of reality. Over the past years, facilities of the centres for defence-security education have basically met the requirements of this subject. However, facilities at the educational establishments which implement the autonomy regime in this subject and at high schools have been still limited, particularly in terms of materiel, training ground, and accommodation. To meet the development of the situation and peculiarities of this subject, due regard should be paid to standardizing and modernizing facilities and teaching-learning equipment so that students could experience the truly military environment. In the medium term, it is necessary to effectively implement the Prime Minister’s Decision 161/QĐ-TTg, dated January 30th 2015, on “approving the planning of the system of centres for defence-security education in the 2015-2020 period and beyond”; ensure the budget for construct and complete those centres; invest in the systems of integrated transmission, smart link, simulation shooting range, and electronic libraries; upgrade specialized classrooms, labs, and teaching-learning equipment; ensure sufficient textbooks and documents for teaching, learning, and examinations. By 2020, at least 90% of students must study this subject at the centres. Notably, competent offices of the Ministry of National Defence, the MoET, and the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs should better cooperate with one another in ensuring equipment and particularly materiel for this subject. In the upcoming time, 100% of students must have a chance to experience the live firing. In the long term, it is important to review and rearrange the system of centres and adjust the cooperation programs in defence-security education across the country. Besides, there should be proper preferential treatment policies for cadres and teachers of defence-security education while free defence-security education for students must be taken into consideration.

Well implementing the above-mentioned measures will practically contribute to enhancing the quality and effectiveness of defence-security education for students as well as raising their awareness and responsibility towards the cause of consolidating national defence and protecting the Homeland in the new situation.

Sr. Col. Phan Xuan Dzung, PhD

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