Monday, March 02, 2020, 08:06 (GMT+7)
Renewing defence and security education at the Vietnam National University, Hanoi

Defence and security education for students is a major policy by our Party and State and plays a role of strategic importance to training human resources for the Homeland’s construction and protection. Therefore, the Defence and Security Education Centre under the Vietnam National University, Hanoi has been stepping up a reform in this work via many synchronous measures.

The Defence and Security Education Centre under the Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU) is tasked with providing defence and security education for students from the VNU, Hanoi and other universities, colleges, and vocational schools according to the Joint Circular 123/2015/TTLT-BQP-BGDĐT-BLĐTBXH by the Ministries of National Defence, Education and Training, and Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs. In recent years, the Centre even has provided defence and security education for high school students in the capital city of Hanoi via the model of “defence and security education week” and the programme of “military skills.” To fulfil its function and assigned task, the Centre has gradually renewed its defence and security education work comprehensively in terms of programme, content, and methodology so as to help learners improve their capacity to acquire knowledge and encourage instructors’ creativity and research.

However, the reform in training content, form, methodology, assessment of learning and teaching, and the building of a contingent of cadres and instructors has yet to meet the requirements. To satisfy the requirements set by the task and the development of the 4th industrial revolution, the Centre’s Party Committee and Board of Directors have decided to continue stepping up a reform in defence and security education, advocating that “it is imperative to change and renew the training activities, particularly the teaching methodology, enhance learners’ capacity to acquire basic knowledge of our Party and State’s guidelines and viewpoints on national defence and security, and create a favourable condition for them to form and develop necessary military and security thought and skills.” Grounded on directives and legal documents on defence and security education, particularly the 10th Politburo’s Directive 12-CT/TW, dated May 3rd 2007, on “strengthening the Party’s leadership over defence and security education in the new situation” and the Law on defence and security education, the Centre has formulated the Project on “renewing the Centre’s teaching in the period of 2019-2025.” At the same time, it has placed emphasised on propagating and disseminating the significance and content of the reform in teaching to achieve a consensus among cadres, instructors, and employees and render them fully aware of this work as requirement and a criterion for the annual assessment of task performance. The following are main measures adopted by the Centre.

First, it has created a breakthrough in improving, diversifying, and modernising teaching content, forms, methods, and means. To that end, the Centre has still provided theoretical knowledge for learners in classrooms; however, instead of traditional method, instructors would raise the issues, provide materials, divide the class into groups according to cluster of issues, and organise debates. Importance has been attached to reducing the duration of theory teaching, increasing the duration of debates and practice to settle the issues between learners and instructors, and using more relevant videos and documentaries. At the same time, consideration has been given to inviting experts and historical witnesses to take part in forums and talk shows on special topics, organising visits, knowledge and painting competitions and exhibitions of products by learners. As learners have to practise military skills mainly at training grounds, in addition to dividing learners into training groups and teams, the Centre has organised extra-curricular activities, allowed learners to gain experience according to each topic, and created an environment relevant to reality for them to proactively, creatively, effectively access lectures.

With reference to the teaching methodology, the Centre has employed the learner-centred approach and considered it as an important element and determinant to the quality of training. Thus, significance has been attached to renewing the teaching methodology in a scientific and proper manner, enabling learners to promote their ability to acquire knowledge to the utmost and develop their thinking, and effectuating interest, enthusiasm, and creativity during the teaching and learning process. Doing so has made learners improve their knowledge of the issues related to lectures to confidently and readily deal with all opinions arising from group discussions and enabled them to develop their thinking, knowledge, skills, and methods for settling situations in the best way, thereby transforming the training process into a self-training one and associating theory with practice. Concerning military lectures, in addition to visual aids-based teaching, practical training, and competitions, the Centre has planned to petition higher echelons to invest in developing 3D simulation software for recreating battles with sound and images, which would give a chance for learners to experience space, time, sound, and images relevant to combat reality and allow them to improve their combat courage, develop their tactical thinking, and formulate strategies for dealing with situations properly, effectively.

A tactical training session for students

While renewing the teaching form and methodology, the Centre has built a bank of questions and answers in order to examine and assess learners’ study results accurately, objectively, and comprehensively. Besides, the Centre has posted the system of questions and answers on the Internet so that learners could revise for exams and assess their study results by their own. The Centre has employed multiple-choice exams on its network. Also, the Centre has made investments in and put the software for test result management into operation under the criteria set by the VNU, Hanoi with a view to raising the quality of its training management and test result statistics in a scientific, effective fashion.

Second, attaching great value to training and improving cadres and instructors’ professional competence and capacity to meet the requirements set by the reform in teaching. Due to an increase in the number of learners, over the years, the Centre has recruited more cadres, instructors, and employees. However, there has been an imbalance in qualifications and work experience between new staff members and old ones. To meet the requirements set by the reform in teaching, the Centre has stepped up its personnel work, developed a plan for training its workforce, diversified forms of training, improve its staff members’ capacity comprehensively, and selected and dispatched young cadres and instructors with good morality, ability, and responsibility to attend postgraduate courses and training courses on defence and security education. At the same time, it has fostered cooperation with faculties and members of the VNU, Hanoi in holding refresher courses on teaching methodology, information technology, and foreign languages for its cadres and instructors. On a yearly basis, in addition to dispatching its cadres and instructors to attend training courses held by the Defence and Security Education Department (the Ministry of Education and Training), the Hanoi Capital City Military Command, and the Infantry Officer College No.1, the Centre has held on-the-spot training courses, inspected lectures, assigned good, experienced cadres and instructors to train young ones, and maintained the order for good instructor and managerial cadre competitions. Doing so has helped improve its cadres and instructors’ teaching experience and methodology to meet the requirements set by the Centre’s reform in teaching in both long and short term.

Moreover, the Centre has renewed the work of scientific research in order to raise the quality of grass-roots level researches, while cooperating with its partners in implementing research projects on defence and security education against the impacts by the 4th industrial revolution, which would make practical contributions to renewing teaching and learner management and training and ensuring facilities and materials for learning and teaching. As a result, the Centre’s cadres and instructors’ capability in defence and security education research has been improved. Additionally, the Centre has renewed its mechanism and preferential treatment policies for cadres and instructors so that they would keep their mind on their work.

Third, making more investments in facilities, weapons, and technical equipment for teaching and learning. At present, the Centre is assigned to manage and use the Campus No.4 in Hoa Lac, which is a favourable condition for its task implementation. Over the years, the Centre has mobilised various resources and gained support from the Department of Militia and Self-Defence Force under the Ministry of National Defence to rather synchronously provide weapons, equipment, models, training aids, specialised classrooms, and uniform for teaching and learning. It is predicted that in the upcoming years, there will be an increase in the number of learners, leading to a greater demand for facilities and modern training equipment. Therefore, the Centre has attached great value to renewing the process of managing and using assets, facilities, and materials and overcoming weaknesses in receiving, managing, preserving, exploiting, supplementing, repairing, and replacing those resources. At the same time, it has put more investments in modernising its facilities, weapons, and technical equipment. In the medium term, the Centre would focus on building a computer lab (including 1 server and 400 computers) for learning and multiple-choice examinations.

Well implementing the above-mentioned measures would provide an important basis for the Defence and Security Education Centre under the VNU, Hanoi to develop sustainably, assert its prestige and status as a reliable centre for defence and security education, and greatly contribute to training young generations comprehensively for the Homeland construction and protection.

Tran Danh Luc, PhD, Director of the Defence and Security Education Centre The VNU, Hanoi       

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