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Some issues on training lecturers at military academies and officer schools today

Lecturers are the key to determining education and training quality as well as development of military schools. Therefore, appropriate attention has been paid to training and cultivating a corps of lecturers who have dignity and standard on a par with mission requirements over the past few years. However, facing the demands for the reform in education and training, military academies and officer schools need to work out proper measures to promote the quality of training this force.

Grasping and implementing resolutions, decisions, and projects of the Party, State, Central Military Commission (CMC), and Ministry of National Defence (MoD) on education and training in general and quality enhancement of military teachers in particular, academies and officer schools have constantly paid attention to leading and instructing the cultivation of a corps of lecturers, especially in terms of pedagogic standard and skills, foreign languages, and practical competence, enabling them to satisfy teaching requirements and scientific studies. Consequently, the corps of military teachers have always demonstrated their political steadfastness and loyalty to the Party, Fatherland and people; possessed fine dignity and healthy lifestyle; identified themselves with their career; and overcome every difficulty to successfully complete their assigned missions. The number of lecturers who have academic titles and other noble titles is on the rise.

Nevertheless, compared to current standardisation requirements, some lecturers have not been equipped with pedagogic knowledge or undergone practical experience according to their training positions yet. Therefore, in practice, there are lecturers who have been assigned to teach learners of higher titles without holding junior titles. Besides, there are a small number of lecturers whose knowledge lacks systematicness. Competence and experience in command and soldier training and management are still weak, particularly the levels of information technology and foreign languages, thereby exerting influence on the quality of training military cadres.

The mission to safeguard the Fatherland in the new situation, effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and requirements of Resolution of the 7th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (12th tenure) on building a corps of cadres necessitate lecturers being trained and cultivated comprehensively and standardised according to regulations of the State and the MoD with the aim of making contributions to improving the quality of training military cadres on a par with required tasks. Consequently, this article seeks to mention several solutions to enhance the quality of training lecturers at military academies and officer schools today.

First, strengthening the leadership and instruction of party executive committees and commanders at all levels over the training and cultivation of lecturers. In fact, the leadership, direction, and supervision by the party executive committees and boards of military academies and officer schools represent the key to determining the quality and effectiveness of this work. Therefore, commanders of military training institutions need to grasp firmly resolutions and directions of the higher echelons regarding defence, military tasks and development of a corps of cadres in general and military education and training in particular, especially guidelines of the CMC and the MoD on “building smart schools,” with a view to promoting the quality of training cadres in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, thus making these cadres aware of the requirements for dignity, competence, and standard of military teachers as well as the need for the enhanced quality of training the corps of lecturers. On the basis of establishing a common understanding, academies and officer schools base on the practical situation of their corps of lecturers and functions and missions of each training institution to identify content and measures to lead and instruct the innovation of training and education in an appropriate, effective manner.

Party executive committees and commanders of faculties and functional departments in each training institution need to stick close to the leadership and direction of their higher echelons, well perform advisory work, opportunely address shortcomings and weaknesses in the training of a corps of lecturers within their areas of responsibility on a scientific, predictive basis, avoid being falling into passivity and formalism, and combine many forms of training with a focus on training through teaching practices, knowledge upgradation, and so forth.

Second, regularly aligning training with standardisation of the corps of lecturers. This is a goal, a requirement and a condition to catch up with developments of education and training missions in the new situation. Accordingly, the training has to follow the basic form of lecturers at military academies and officer schools with a focus on cadres who have high education levels (from master’s degree onwards); are trained in pedagogic skills; possess good political behaviour, morality, lifestyle, competence, and pedagogic skills; are capable of developing comprehensively; and work in accordance with their majors. Additionally, each lecturer has to satisfy the criteria for each teaching position. Consequently, during the training process, academies and officer schools need to adhere to demands of standardisation, particularly the criteria for specialised, technical, professional officers within the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), stipulated in the Circular No. 66/2017/TT-BQP, dated 30 March 2017 by the MoD in order to conduct training properly. It is essential to concentrate on providing intensive training for the corps of lecturers in a comprehensive, sustainable manner, meeting general demands of national standard and international integration, in congruence with special features of military training institutions in the long run. Academies and officer schools should resolutely fight against the pursuit of quantity and the disregard for quality and criteria, while opportunely detecting lecturers’ deviations to formulate the measures for re-training and settlement.

Third, continuing to renew training programs, content, and methodologies. This is a matter of significant importance to addressing limitations in training the corps of lecturers. Thus, on the basis of inheriting rational elements, it is vital to review training programs and content and resolutely deal with coincidence of content at all training levels, ensuring proper proportions of basic, specialised knowledge, information technology, and foreign languages. Priorities should be given to intensive training in specialised knowledge and calculation of the amount of time and knowledge to improve lecturers’ levels of foreign languages, information technologies, and legal knowledge, ensuring their capability to work in international environment as requested by Resolution of the 7th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (12th tenure). In addition, it is important to provide pedagogic skills for lecturers who have not been trained as teachers yet; improve their command and staff knowledge and abilities to conduct party work and political work; realise the mottos of “aligning arguments with facts,” “aligning training institutions with units,” and “aligning training grounds with battlefields”; apply flexibly forms of training; closely marry education and training with the enhanced abilities to think independently and creatively and undertake scientific research; and combine knowledge cultivation with skill training among the corps of lecturers. Postgraduate education must ensure modernity in the direction of training experts. Attention should be paid to providing new knowledge; improving independent, creative thinking capacity; developing abilities to deal with theoretical and practical issues of specialised science; and providing knowledge of building the armed forces and safeguarding the Fatherland in the new situation. The innovation process must be carried out in a comprehensive, synchronous, scientific manner with suitable steps. It is important to avoid subjectivity, impatience, stagnation, and rightist deviationism. As for lecturers who have not held positions in units yet but participated in training the cadets who would hold higher positions than their lecturers, military academies and officer schools need to work out plans to send them to work in units to acquire practical knowledge and experiences, thereby not only enabling lecturers to become more confident but also improving teaching quality. To build a strong bond between training institutions and units, every year training institutions should invite cadres with hands-on experience in units to visit their schools and deliver lessons on special subjects with a view to providing lecturers with practical knowledge in units. In addition, military academies and officer schools need to attach special importance to cultivating their lecturers’ political steadfastness, fine dignity, and healthy lifestyle. This will make them competent to resolutely reject false positions and arguments of the hostile forces and abstain from manifestations of degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle, “self-evolution,” and “self-transformation.”

Fourth, bringing into play lecturers’ activeness and proactiveness in self-training. Training is the shortest and most effective path to promote the quality of lecturers. Nevertheless, its success largely depends on their self-training. Development of education and training missions and scientific studies requires the lecturers to constantly try their best to prove themselves in reality. Today, some lecturers have shown the manifestations of less activeness and consciousness of study and training, or the signs of satisfaction of their knowledge, competence, and outcomes of teaching and scientific research, thereby leading to the backwardness of their levels, knowledge, skills, methodologies, etc., directly affecting results of teaching, scientific research, and prestige of this corps of lecturers. Consequently, leaders and commanders at all levels need to regularly well perform the work of education and propagation to raise the lecturers’ awareness and responsibilities for self-training; set high requirements for lecturers and regularly inspect their performance; and pay attention to the implementation of policies, emulation, praise and reward, creating momentum for lecturers’ self-training. Each lecturer who does not want to lag behind realities and requirements of their missions must heighten the sense of responsibility, train themselves, and take the initiative in overcoming difficulties to undertake self-study and self-training, striving to improve their levels, methodologies, skills, and experience to satisfy the demands of teaching, learning, and scientific research.

The aforementioned solutions represent open-ended questions. On the basis of their assigned functions and missions, military academies and officer schools can scrutinise and apply them to enhancing the quality of the corps of lecturers, making contributions to successfully completing their tasks of education and training and building a robust system of military training institutions capable of meeting the mission requirement in the new situation.

Lieutenant Colonel Tran Thanh Son, Political Academy, the MoD

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