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Improving quality of teaching humanities and social sciences subjects at military schools

The 13th National Party Congress continues to advocate comprehensive, synchronous reform of education and training; vigorously transform education from mainly disseminating knowledge into all-round development of learners’ competence and qualities. Profound grasp and application of such standpoint to enhancement of education and training quality at military schools are vital today.

Our Party determines to “create a basic, vigorous change in the quality and effectiveness of education and training in order to better meet requirements of national construction and defence”; “to regard education and training together with science and technology as the top national policies and key drivers of national development”; “to strenuously transform education process from mostly spreading knowledge into all-round development of learners’ competence and qualities,” and so on. This is an extremely important direction because basic, comprehensive reform of education and training is to make changes to major, key, pressing issues, ranging from guideline to mechanism, policy, and condition for execution.

The system of military schools is a vital element of the national education system and has specific characteristics of military operations. Humanities and social sciences subjects occupy a crucial role in developing learners’ combat goal and ideal, guiding their politics and ideology, and contributing to the building of a politically, ideologically, organisationally, and morally strong military, which serves to ensure the Party’s absolute, direct leadership of the military in every aspect. The world and region are witnessing rapid, complex, unpredictable developments. Apart from many advantages, the cause of national construction and defence is also encountering a series of difficulties and challenges. Hostile forces and reactionaries step up sabotaging the Party, State, and military in all fields. The cause of military building, strengthening national defence, and safeguarding the Homeland is presenting new requirements, missions, and so forth. The situation necessitates enhancing quality of teaching humanities and social sciences subjects at military schools through synchronous content and solutions, notably the followings:

First, standardising training content and program; innovating methodology of teaching humanities and social sciences subjects. The standardisation of content and program is the most important factor, which lays the foundation for innovating teaching methodology. In essence, methodology is the evolution of content. If the content does not ensure scientism and modernity, it will be also difficult to renovate methodology in an effective way. Thus, the reform of content and program must be undertaken in the direction of standardisation and modernisation, creativity, and systematicness, which enables instructors and learners to bring into play their intelligence and ability to explore and acquire the amount of knowledge according to training goals and requirements.

Innovating content and program of humanities and social sciences subjects aims at making them suitable for each type of learners. These are basic components of a training process, which associate with each level of learning and specific learner and, are crucial to the quality of education and training at schools. The selection of teaching content and program, therefore, must be close to and suitable for training majors. The amount of knowledge needed to equip learners must always aim for development, be up-to-date, practical, and capable of satisfying the needs of society. It is necessary to avoid providing learners with too much information, which will make them feel overwhelmed at schools. Innovation needs to aim for leveraging learners’ active perception as well as creating every favourable condition for learners to put their knowledge into practice. Consequently, innovating content of humanities and social sciences subjects should meet the demand for supplementing and updating information about the Party’s guideline; avoid “aging knowledge”; bravely omit obsolete knowledge and impractical information from course books and textbooks.

The humanities and social sciences subjects are in a unique position to shape learners’ worldview and discourse on method. The teaching process, therefore, must truly attach importance to raising learners’ political steadfastness, theoretical standard, and deep awareness of Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh’s Thought, guidelines of the Party, and policies and law of the State, facilitating learners’ knowledge acquisition process. To do so requires the teaching process to focus on interpreting theoretical, practical basis of each lecture and subject thoroughly as well as predicting development trends scientifically while combining with making full use of modern teaching aids and tapping into advantages of information technology with a view to creating diversified effects on learners’ senses and facilitating their acquisition of knowledge in social sciences and humanities.

Second, leveraging the role and responsibility of organisations and forces for improving quality of teaching humanities and social sciences subjects. This is a vital task of the corps of leadership, commanding cadres, functional bodies, faculties, and units in charge of cadet management. To successfully tap into the role and responsibility of these forces will generate overall power and promote quality of teaching humanities and social sciences subjects at schools.

As for functional agencies, on the basis of deeply grasping directives and resolutions of the Party on education and training, they need to follow their specific functions and missions closely to successfully propose solutions to improve quality of teaching for leaders, commanders, and boards of directors. Importance is attached to coordinating the work of relevant bodies and faculties regarding development of teaching plans, drastically shifting the teaching approach from subject-based learning to problem-based learning, and performing steps for preparing and delivering lessons, including approval of lesson plans, lesson observation, delivery of model lessons, peer review of teaching, and so on. Party, political work in units responsible for cadet management is requested to associate with self-study, good establishment of learning clubs, and take the quality of learning as a base for setting emulation targets and criteria for ranking Party members and Youth Union members annually.

Units in charge of cadet management are those who directly manage, educate, and train learners, thus being required to uphold the spirit, responsibility, and management of learners’ self-study. Battalions and the equivalent in charge of cadet management need to use multiple instructional delivery modes and methods such as meetings of organisations, emulation activities, youth forums, etc., to foster cadets’ proper awareness of humanities and social sciences subjects, producing their dynamics of knowledge acquisition.

High quality of teaching humanities and social sciences subjects at military schools can be only achieved by learners’ active involvement in self-study. Consequently, learners’ endless effort to improve their knowledge in every aspect is the deciding factor. Given their role as the active subject in knowledge acquisition and dignity self-improvement, leveraging learners’ activeness, self-consciousness, and self-cultivation is the most important solution that directly decides teaching and training quality, making vital contribution to increased quality of teaching at schools.

Third, teaching humanities and social sciences subjects at military schools must aim for all-round development of learners’ competence and qualities. To implement this solution, first, attention must be paid to development of the corps of lecturers, one of the deciding factors in the increased training quality. Lecturers must be equipped with professional knowledge and competence that suit the needs of military teaching. It is important to enhance academic level, thinking skills, teaching skills and experience; speed up application of modern, close-to-reality teaching methodologies with a view to arousing and bringing into play learners’ activeness, proactiveness, creativeness, self-study, self-training, and practical operations.

In view of the growing demand for reforming education, training, and building of military schools comprehensively in the standardised modernised direction in order to bring about fundamental, strong transformation in the quality and effectiveness of education, training, and scientific research, the standardisation of titles in accordance with the corps of lecturers’ training objectives and requirements is vital. It is because training at military schools is linked to not only learning but also title, with a focus on taking academic standard and intellectual quality as the basis for renewing assessment procedures and mechanisms for lecturers according to development of intellectual quality, professional knowledge, proficiency in teaching skills, proactiveness, and creativeness, in line with requirements of the military as well as standards of the national education, training system.

The quality of teaching humanities and social sciences subjects is partly due to teaching conditions at schools. They are conditions of material facilities in support of the teaching process such as teaching aids, computers, projectors, and accessories; teaching environment; policies on lecturers. Leaders and commanders at all levels, therefore, should promote investment in material facilities, teaching aids, course books, textbooks, teaching material, etc., to meet the needs of enhancing quality of teaching and learning humanities and social sciences subjects. Additionally, it is necessary to formulate appropriate policies on the corps of lecturers in order to create the most favourable conditions for self-learning, knowledge acquisition, development of professional skills, cultivation of dignity, leverage of teaching skills, thereby encouraging them to try their best, well perceive the teachers’ great honour and responsibility, and develop strong attachments to the cause of human resource development for the military and society.

Synchronous implementation of the above-mentioned measures will contribute to promoting quality of education and training at military schools and making the People’s Army politically strong, which provides firm ground for successfully completing the goal of “basically building an adept, compact, strong military by 2025, striving for building a revolutionary, regular, highly skilled, modernised People’s Army from 2030 onwards.”

Senior Colonel, Doctor Ta Quang Dam, Political Academy, Ministry of National Defence

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