Knowledge in wilderness | Daily News

Knowledge in wilderness

They are undergoing intense training in combat. They are being taught how to survive in a conflict situation, to outwit and overpower the enemy. They are being taught how to strategize. They have been taught how to move stealthily and think under pressure. In other words, they are being taught how to be brave and tough soldiers. These are educationists who are being trained in harsh conditions.

Daily News went on an army tour to Diyathalawa where one received first -hand experience what military training is like for these teachers.

The Officers of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) have been enlisted from the Sri Lanka Education Service, most of them, are teachers who work at government, semi-government and private schools. Some of the officers are principals as well as officers at the Education Administrative Service. These officers are performing an outstanding contribution towards cadetting, doing it voluntarily, in addition to classroom teaching assigned to them in schools.

These teachers do not do this for financial remuneration. They do it for the love of it. This is because they want to pass down what lessons they have learnt from the military. They do not weather the hardships in the hope of glamour or recognition. They are teachers who want to pass down knowledge and do society a service. They don’t have to do it because joining the military service is not compulsory. They do it because they believe they have a duty towards society.

The Initial interviews for the enlistment of Probationary Officers for Probationary Officers Course Intake - 39 of National Cadet Corps were held from May 21 to May 25 at Head Quarters National Cadet Corps Pamankada. More than 200 teachers below 35 years of age in Government Schools around the country applied for this interview. Those who qualified from the first and second interviews and the medical test were selected for the Course.

Officers’ intake 39 of the NCC is currently under training in the forests of Diyathalawa. It comprises 59 Probationary Officers -46 males and 13 females. The vision of the Sri Lankan government is to make the officers, great visionary and exemplary human beings who can be the pillars of cadetting and society.

The Training course is a 45-day military course started on July 25, at Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force Training School, Diyathalawa with theoretical and practical knowledge in order to enrich them to be resourceful platoon commanders at schools. Upon completion of the course they will be attached to the school where they are teaching and after a one-year probationary period, they will be commissioned in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant with the recommendations of the respective battalion Commanding Officers.

Their role and task are to train cadets at schools with a view of attracting the youth towards cadetting, so youth can be charismatic personalities and forceful leaders in society with integrity and dedication. Cadetting is a field that has potential because of the discipline and spirit of courage it imparts in the youth.

At the Diyathalawa training camp, we saw how these teachers are toughened and how they are trained in tactics such as planning an attack or defensive tactics. Armed with blanks they charged down the hills with their war cries, armed to the teeth in camouflage, trained by their tough taskmasters who are senior officers in the army.

Daily News spoke to one trainee, an English Teacher of Mahinda Rajapaksa College Homagama Madara Umayangani to find out what her experience was like.

“I have never experienced this before. It is totally new. This is a totally military environment. We were civilians before and it was very difficult to get oriented to this environment. Everything is new for us. The staff and the officers are very helpful to get us orientated to the environment. They have instructed us how to do the tasks properly. They taught us everything about the military, especially the discipline aspect because the army discipline comes first. Discipline was the first thing we learnt after coming here. Through discipline, we learnt so many things such as the operations taking place in the army. We learnt how to read maps and lay the ambush. We learnt how to camouflage ourselves. It was theoretical with a lot of emphasis on practical knowledge,” said Umayangani.

Umayangani commented that the overall experience has been extremely valuable as they have learnt so much about the military part of life.

“We have learnt about uniformity and how to work and behave as a team. It is a marvellous experience. All my fellow companions teach different subjects in different schools all over the country. We were selected to the national cadet corps after around two interviews and then we had a medical exam. Coming here was difficult because there were around 200 applicants and only 59 were selected for this course. I consider this a very valuable opportunity,” explained Umayangani.

She also commented that the group activities have been challenging and new and that learning them has also been fun.

“We need to use what the environment has given us such as when camouflaging ourselves. Everybody has been really enthusiastic and positive about the entire experience and the training course. We were taught how to ambush, kneel down and fire with the rifle, and this was a new thing since we have never touched a rifle before. We got this valuable opportunity to go to the snipers home area and fire with real bullets. It is a very rare chance for anyone in the world,” pointed out Umayangani.

There is an idea in the present day government that leadership in the form of platoon commanders must be further strengthened at schools, stabilizing and improving cadetting so the good work can be continued. The status of the cadet infrastructure in Sri Lanka is commendable. There was a representation of Cadets from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Maldives at the Centenary Hermann Loos Challenge Trophy in Rantambe last year.


 

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