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Standardizing, modernizing, and making military schools capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution

The 4th industrial revolution has been impacting multidimensionally on the military-defence task and the work of education and training. Proactively approaching the scientific achievements and making military schools capable of meeting their task requirements and the requirements for building the revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern Military in the new situation is a matter of importance and urgency.

Over the past years, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Ministry of National Defence (MND) have grasped the Party and State’s resolutions and directives on the work of education and training, particularly the 11th Party Central Committee’s Resolution 29-NQ/TW, dated November 4th 2013, on fundamental, comprehensive reform in the work of education and training, the Resolution of the 12th National Party Congress, the Prime Minister’s Directive 16/CT-TTg, dated May 4th 2017, on enhancing the capacity to approach the 4th industrial revolution, in order to opportunely direct the entire Military, particularly its schools to step up standardization, modernization, and reform as well as improve the quality of education and training, thereby meeting the requirements for the Military build-up and Homeland defence in the new situation. To that end, the MND has issued the Decision 889/QĐ-BQP, dated March 22nd 2018 on approving action plan of military schools amidst the impacts by the 4th industrial revolution in the period of 2018-2020 and beyond, while directing the military schools to formulate their own action plans/programs. With a sense of responsibility and resolve, the work of education and training within the Military continues to obtain positive results; the system of military schools continues to be consolidated; the training program and content have been renewed; due attention has been paid to developing a contingent of teachers and educational managers comprehensively. Military schools have devoted numerous efforts to renewing the teaching method, modernizing their facilities and equipment, applying information technology, building smart schools and making themselves capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution with positive initial results.

Lt. Gen. Ngo Minh Tien inspecting the Training Centre of the Air Force Officer College (photo: qdnd.vn)

However, there have been several weaknesses in performing the work of education and training and making military schools capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution. The training content and program have been renew, but they have yet to meet the requirements for development. The standards of foreign languages and information technology among teachers have been low. The number of elite teachers and top experts is small. The work of upgrading and modernizing facilities and equipment for education and training has yet to be effective.

At present, the task of Military build-up and Homeland protection amidst the rapid development of international integration and 4th industrial revolution imposes new challenges on the Military’s education and training. To meet the task requirements, it is necessary to continue standardizing, modernizing, and making the military schools capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution with a focus on the main measures as follows.

First, continuing to review and consolidate the system of schools in line with the Military’s organizational structure and the requirements for developing education and training in the new situation. Party committees and commands of competent offices, schools and units should grasp resolutions and directives on education training by the Party, State, CMC, and MND as well as comprehend the directions and strategic goals of education and training development within the Military. Grounded on those documents and directions, it is important to rectify, consolidate, and make the system of military schools compact and strong. Competent offices of the General Staff and the MND continue to adjust the military schools’ organizational structure and supplement their tasks under the plans by the CMC and the MND. Military schools should review and adjust their organizational structure and task under the approved plans and continue to adopt breakthrough measures for standardizing and making themselves capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution. From the obtained results, military competent offices and schools should enhance all-level party committees’ leadership and direction over the work of education and training and step up the work of propagation to achieve a consensus among all groups of troops on the task of education and training and the building of military schools in the new situation. They should continue to concretize and make the goals of education and training reform and development relevant with their function and assigned task. In the school year of 2019-2020, military schools should review and supplement the targets and measures for implementing the programs/plans for the resolutions, strategies, and projects on the school work and education-training task approved by the MND, with priority given to regularizing, standardizing, and modernizing military schools.

Significance should be attached to achieving a breakthrough in performing the central task, dealing with new issues and weaknesses, and resolutely fighting against conservatism and stagnation in the process. Competent offices, particularly the Department of Schools should advise higher echelons on building several academies and schools into key models and effectively performing the task of building smart schools and making them capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution. In the short term, consideration should be given to building the National Defence Academy, the Military Technical Academy, the Infantry Officer College, and the Air Force Officer College as the models for the others to follow.

Second, renewing the training procedures, programs, and content to meet the requirements for Military build-up in the new situation. Based on the CMC’s Resolution 109-NQ/QUTW, dated on February 11th 2019, on building a contingent of military cadres, especially at the strategic and campaign levels in the new situation, military schools should continue to review, adjust, complete, standardize, and modernize their training procedures, programs, and content to ensure the inheritance and connection between all educational levels and majors within the Military. In this regard, great value should be attached to developing several training programs for the Military’s key areas in order to train a contigent of hi-quality cadres, particularly in the military science and technology. In the medium term, military schools should effectively execute the Project on adjusting the training procedures and programs for cadres within military schools to meet the task requirements in the new situation by the MND. It is essential to integrate the new issues of high preditability on the military-defence task and Homeland defence in the new condition into the training programs. The Department of Schools should direct the Military Technical Academy to develop several pilot training programs for military talents and top experts in the key areas and basic sciences. In addition, military schools should effectively implement the MND’s Directive 89/CT-BQP, dated November 9th 2016, in order to achieve a breakthrough in teaching and learning foreign languages as well as the foreign language training program for military cadets. It is also imperative to renew the teaching-learning method, actively employ the learners-centred method, apply information technology and simulation technique to teaching, align training at schools with training courses at units, launch the distant learning program on the military network, and encourage self-study and self-training. At the same time, due regard should be paid to drawing and applying lessons learnt from reality of combat and combat readiness to serving the task of education and training at military schools under the Defence Minister’s Directive  89/CT-BQP, dated April 4th 2018.

Third, continuing to build and standardize a contingent of teachers and educational managers. This is a deciding element in raising the quality of training and education, particularly amidst the requirements for training a pool of hi-calibre military cadres and the impacts by the 4th industrial revolution. The Department of Schools should cooperate with offices, units, and schools in building the Project on “consolidating and developing a contingent of teachers and educational managers in the period of 2020-2025 with orientation towards 2030” and proactively performing the work of training, using, and managing this staff. The training of this staff must be conducted comprehensively, with emphasis placed on their qualifications, hands-on knowledge, teaching and research method, and capability in foreign languages and information technology as the basis for them to approach the achievements of the 4th industrial revolution. At the same time, due attention should be paid to building and training cadres and employees in charge of technical work, information technology, and simulation technology in support for the education and training task and educational management. According to the Strategy for education and training development in the period of 2011-2020, by 2020, all teachers of military colleges will have to hold bachelor’s degree, 60% of them will have to hold postgraduate degree (above 25% of them are associate professors and doctors); 90% of teachers from vocational schools and military schools of military regions and army corps will have to hold bachelor’s degree (25% of them hold postgraduate degree). It is necessary to encourage leaders and commanders of offices and units to take part in teaching and presenting their hands-on experiences at military schools. This is an important human resource which plays a core role in raising the quality of education and training and realizing the goals of standardizing, modernizing, and making military schools capable of approaching the digital technology.

Fourth, closely combining education with scientific research and fostering international cooperation. This provides an important basis for military schools to seize the opportunity for integration and development. To do so, while promoting scientific research, closely combining education with scientific research, and directing this work towards the task of education and training, military schools should cooperate with research institutes and centres in establishing groups of researchers for studying the impacts by the 4th industrial revolution on the work of education and training as well as implementing the task and topics related to this issue, thereby contributing to standardizing and modernizing military schools. In addition, offices, units, and schools should continue to effectively execute the projects/plans for international cooperation in education and training within the Military. Measures should be taken to enhance the effectiveness of education cooperation with other countries, particularly traditional friends, ASEAN member states, and countries with hi-quality education, with a focus on key areas in order to proactively approach, exploit, and apply the 4th generation technology to the Military’s education and training.

Fifth, mobilizing resources to make a breakthrough in facilities and teaching equipment. This provides a solid foundation for standardizing and modernizing military schools amidst the impacts by the 4th industrial revolution. To do so, it is important to design and implement the projects for gradually modernizing facilities and training grounds; to supplement new weapons and equipment for military schools, particularly apply the simulation technology for new-generation weapons and technical equipment to meeting the requirements for education and scientific research under the model of “smart schools capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution”. Greater importance should be attached to upgrading information technology facilities, gradually modernizing the work of training, educational management and training operation, building the system of advanced classrooms with modern equipment, such as hi-tech interaction board, computer and sound system, and specialized simulation software, and constructing the system of digitalized libraries. Military schools should effectively manage and accelerate the progress of the approved projects and plans, particularly the Project on “further applying information technology to managing and supporting teaching, learning, and scientific research to raise the quality of education and training in the period of 2016-2020, with orientation towards 2025” approved by the Prime Minister. The Department of Schools should cooperate with competent offices and schools in advising the CMC and MND to develop the project/plan on the facilities and equipment for education and training in accordance with the development of the Military’s materiel and the country’s economic condition, with priority given to building and implementing the model of “smart schools capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution”.

Standardizing, modernizing, and making the military schools capable of approaching the 4th industrial revolution represent the concretization of the Party’s standpoint on the fundamental, comprehensive reform in education and training as well as the responsibility of the whole Party and Military, which requires all-level party committees and commands to seriously, synchronously adopt measures in order to meet the requirements for the Military build-up and Homeland protection in the new situation.

Lt. Gen. Ngo Minh Tien, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army

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