Juniors to the fore | Sunday Observer

Juniors to the fore

Junior Cadets at the 2018 Championship at Rantambe
Junior Cadets at the 2018 Championship at Rantambe

Cadetting in Sri Lanka, initiated by the Principal of Royal College, John B. Cull in the 19th Century has come a long way since then, passing many milestones.

The beginning of junior cadetting was a special moment in cadet history. It widened the spectrum of cadetting in schools by attracting younger children into the stream of the‘Never be unprepared'.

As recorded in history, the beginning of junior cadetting was in 1910. In the early days these children were given training on drills, march pasts, athletics, first aid, billet inspection and firing.

Junior cadets are students between the ages of 12 to 14 years. In other words, a student can pursue cadetting at the beginning of Grade Seven. Another significant aspect in cadetting is that all students, including those in public, private and international schools can become cadets.

Similar to the cadet camps and competitions organised for Senior Cadets, the juniors also had them in Gampola during the early days. Thereafter the camps and competitions were transferred to Boossa, Galle and later on to the Diyathalawa Army Camp Site.

As the all island best platoon in the senior category receives the Herman Loos Championship Trophy, in the early years junior cadets competed for the De Soysa Challenge Trophy. St. Benedict's College, Kotahena won the very first trophy.

However, in 1981 junior cadetting was stopped and at the same time the De Soysa Challenge was also abandoned.

Recently, the De Soysa Challenge award was dedicated to Girls Cadetting and a separate trophy was dedicated to the juniors. Junior cadetting re-started in 2016 with pilot projects in Moneragala and Trincomalee. Currently the National Cadet Corps (NCC) has successfully installed more than 1,050 junior cadet platoons all across the island.

In December last year, nearly 1,000 junior cadets participated at the passing out ceremony after completing the Junior Cadet Championship Camp at the NCC's Training Centre at Rantambe.

Director NCC, Maj. Gen. M.M.S Perera attended the glamorous event as the chief guest. Out of 1,050 platoons island-wide, 234 platoons were able to participate in this and the final competition was held between 29 boys’ platoons and 10 girls’ platoons.

In the final round, St. Anne’s College, Kurunegala and Polpagoda MMV, Yakkalamulla bagged the most outstanding boys and girls platoon trophies respectively.

Benefits for Senior/ Junior National Cadets

- Foreign tours as per youth exchange programs

- Bonus marks at University Entrance

- Receiving priority at Tri Forces ranks

- High priority at Public-Private job interviews

- Top priority when recruited to teaching academies