Military profession can be considered as one of the oldest professions in the world. It had been a feature of societies throughout history where certain groups of people were entrusted with the responsibility of defending the state. The military profession today however, differs in many aspects from the military of the late eighteenth century in the sense that recruitment is based on education and skill rather than on the basis of social origins. Military men today work on a full-time basis instead of regarding military service as a part-time vocation or hobby. All professions are expected to maintain a certain level of competency and will be reprimanded or reject outright if they do not measure up to the required professional standards. The military profession must maintain high standards of performance in the eyes of the general public in order to hold its credibility and professional standing. Over the years, western writers like Huntington (1957), Janowitz (1971) and Sarkesian (1975) had given their views on the subject of military profession and professionalism. They had identified the following general characteristics of military professionalism which are organizational structure, special knowledge, education and training, self-regulation and commitment. The Malaysian Army had rise up to the challenge in addressing the issues of military professionalism among its personnel. All the characteristics of military professionalism mentioned earlier are being addressed seriously by the Army. Thus, one of the measures taken by the Army that the best place to start inculcating professionalism among the soldiers should start at the training centers. The Army has 17 training institutions all over the country and in 2011 the budget allocated for the Markas Pemerintahan Latihan dan Doktrin Tentera Darat was $22.7 million. With 250 courses and 441 series of courses in 2011, the number of soldiers trained in year 2011 was approximately 16,000. This is a significant figure that can be considered as products of the Malaysian Army. Therefore, the Army has taken an approach by introducing the Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) as a measure to increase the level of professionalism among its personnel. CBTA is not a new approach in training. It has been a nationwide move by the Ministry of Human Resources. Malaysia, along with the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and Germany were the main players in implementing CBTA since year 2000. The introduction of the National Skills Certification System in 1993 by the Majlis Latihan Vokasional Kebangsaan (MLVK) and the soon to be implemented National Skills Development Act by the Ministry of Human Resources as well as the Malaysian Qualification Framework (MQF) by the Ministry of Higher Education will serve to restructure and streamline the national vocational and skills training in the country towards meeting the demands of today’s job tasks more effectively. Its introduction is indeed timely, given the high priority that it places on the area of human resource development. With the emphasis towards preparing trained and qualified skilled workforce to support the country’s economic development, therefore, the more flexible framework of national skills recognition and qualifications is necessary to promote a conducive training culture for the personal motivation of skilled workers, which would hence lead to the overall upgrading of competencies amongst the country’s skilled workforce. Competency based learning has been the basis of most training and has been practiced in most countries. The Roman Army for example, were masters of competency training as applied to large groups and their effectiveness in delivering such training was a major contributor to their military success. A perfect description of competency training is as follows: “Their drills are like bloodless battles, and their battles are like bloody drills.”
Joseph Ben-Matthias, aka...
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