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Two days off from army fatigues

india Updated: Jun 02, 2008 01:26 IST
Rahul Singh

More freedom is in store for cadets training at the National Defence Academy. Those joining next term (June 28, 2008) can look forward to concessions their seniors could only dream of.

Not only has the academy decided to go for a five-day week, it will also shed rigidity and let rookies map out their own outdoor training regimen. Till now, outdoor activities such as swimming, riding and physical training were being enforced.

All that becomes history with the NDA deciding to structure training on the pattern of the United States Military Academy, West Point, founded in 1802. NDA commandant Air Marshal TS Randhawa visited West Point last month along with a battery of instructors to figure out how the USMA trains cadets and what aspects can be emulated.

NDA sources told Hindustan Times, "We’re incorporating changes to make cadets more responsible, without being dogmatic."

In what is called ‘liberty’ in NDA parlance, cadets are allowed to visit Pune city on Sundays. A five-day week, however, does not imply that they can do that twice a week. The extra off day has been earmarked for working on projects assigned to them. The new pattern seeks to give them more space and plan independently, said an officer.

The flipside, some cadets might say, is that the focus on academics will become sharper with the number of periods being increased.

All cadets will be given laptops and teaching material will be made available on a high-speed local area network.

Blackboards will make way for display screens and 24-hour Internet access will facilitate research work without stepping out of their cabins. Cadets will get more time for compulsory self-study.