The first in our series on cadetting/ The cadets | Sunday Observer

The first in our series on cadetting/ The cadets

‘Never be unprepared’, is one of the commonly heard mottos in Sri Lanka, which says it all about the discipline or the amount of training gained by its followers.The National Cadet Corps which follows the above motto comprises a special set of school students, who have embarked on a journey beyond their school curriculum. Some may see Cadetting as hard-physical training, which is partly true. The National Cadet Corps has its own curriculum that trains its cadets in physical fitness, development of mental strength and soft skills.

History of the National Cadet Corps

The Principal of Royal College, Mr. John B Cull in 1881 initiated a new program with the intention of promoting discipline by doing drill. This was a landmark initiation which today is considered as the birth of the National Cadet Corps. Sooner, other leading schools around the country, Trinity, Kingswood, S Thomas’, Wesley and Richmond started cadetting after seeing its success at Royal College. The Cadet Corps at these schools was called the Ceylon Cadet Battalion (CCB). Twenty-one years later the CCB was attached to the Ceylon Light Infantry (CLI).

Initially, all the training for the Cadets was provided by CLI officers. However, the CLI began a more structured program for the Cadets when they established the very first Cadet Battalion in Hikkaduwa with training conducted by headquarters.

In 1950 CCB became the Ceylon Cadet Corps (CCC). In the same year a Second Battalion was formed with its headquarters in Kandy while the First Battalion Headquarters shifted to Kalutara. Thus, with its progress, a Third Battalion was formed in 1953.

After Ceylon declared itself a Republic in 1972, the Corps changed its name to Sri Lanka Cadet Corps.

National Cadet Corps

In1981, a proposal was made by the then government to broadbase the Cadet Corps on a National basis under a central authority. The Act No. 40 of 1985 brought about the amalgamation of the Sri Lanka Cadet Corps and the Police Cadet Corps. Then the National Cadet Corps (NCC) was ceremonially inaugurated by President J.R. Jayewardene on April 29, 1988 under the Ministry of Defence.

As the NCC became a more organised separate entity in 1988, the training and administration also became more organised. Currently officers from all three forces and the police are appointed as instructors in each battalion headquarters who maintain the quality of the training.

Now there are 38 battalions all over the country which consist of Commanding Officers, Adjutants and Training Officers. Out of these thirty eight battalions, Girls’ Cadetting has nine battalions, representing each province. These battalions consist of Cadet Officers representing all forcers, Army, Navy, Air Force and Police.

Membership is open to school going boys and girls, who are between the ages of 14 to 20 years. Officers are selected from those in the Teaching Profession in Government Schools.

- To be continued

Special Thanks - National Cadet Corps HQ