The NCC was set up with an aim to develop character, comradeship, discipline, a secular outlook, the spirit of adventure, and ideals of selfless service among young citizens. Furthermore, it aims to create a pool of organised, trained, and motivated youth with leadership qualities from all walks of life who will serve the nation regardless of which career they choose. The NCC also provides an environment conducive to motivate young Indians to join the armed forces.
Despite the cadets at the NCC receiving all the necessary army training directly under the supervision of the Indian Armed Forces, its contribution in the forces falls short of what is expected of them. Even after getting special benefits after their NCC certifications, they fail to clear the Staff Selection Board. There could be multiple reasons behind such a situation, one of them identified is the lack of OLQs (Officer Like Qualities). SSB aspirants are essentially judged on the basis of OLQs during their exhaustive selection process. NCC cadets, especially the ones that come out of lesser privileged backgrounds lack significantly in the aforementioned qualities.
These are the skills of
- Effective Intelligence
- Reasoning Ability
- Organising Ability
- Power of Expression
- Social Adaptability
- Sense of Responsibility
- Speed of decision
- Ability to influence the group
In a one its kind experiment, NCC Group at Prayagraj, under the Group Commander Brig. Brijesh Pandey collaborated with a Delhi based organisation, Brainwiz to enhance their cadets’ OLQs using Education for Sustainable Development.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) aims to integrate the principles and practices of Sustainable Development (SD) into all aspects of education and learning, to encourage changes in knowledge, values and attitudes with the vision of enabling a more sustainable and just society for all(UNESCO, 2014).
Brainwiz has been working towards analysing the impacts of Education for Sustainable Development in various educational setups. Speaking exclusively to us, Tarush Jain, founder of Brainwiz says, “This collaboration provided us with a unique opportunity to work with students in tier 3 cities and assess their understanding about the sustainability issues.”
Working with problems centric to the city of Prayagraj, 500 young cadets at an NCC camp created implementable, scalable, and replicable solutions to tackle the problems like Health, Water and Sanitation, Education, Traffic Management, and Municipal Corporation Management for the city. They were all working towards the goal of making Prayagraj a Smart City, by eliminating these challenges one by one.
In a grand presentation ceremony organised by NCC Group, Prayagraj, these cadets presented their solutions to academicians, officers, district administration, and the media. Maj Gen A K Sapra, former ADG NCC UP attended the ceremony and was impressed by the efforts of these cadets.
Brig. Brijesh Pandey, Group Commander NCC Prayagraj says, “It is fascinating to see how talking about sustainability and solving the challenges for one’s own community brings out the skills that we require in the Armed Forces”
Mr Tarush Jain informs that these cadets who have no experience of public speaking, group discussions, interviews could do all of that because they were working on problems that they could relate to and really wanted to solve. Everyone has the skills to survive in the 21st-century. Our education systems must evolve to harness those skills.
Education for sustainable development (ESD) is often confused with creating awareness about the SDGs. We need to understand that it is far more than that. ESD’s primary motive is to make all learners aware enough about the local and global issues that they can empathise with the victims of those issues and competent enough that they can take it upon themselves to solve those issues. Every learner should become a catalyst who can motivate a few hundred other citizens to participate in achieving the SDGs.