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Making national service optional will not help achieve purpose – former NSS boss

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A former Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), Vincent S. Kuagbenu, is of the view that making national service optional rather than mandatory will not help to achieve the purpose for which it was instituted.

For him, the proposal by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who is also the flag bearer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), to make national service optional for graduates when voted as President in 2025, will affect many communities that are currently enjoying the services of NSS personnel. 

The former NSS boss who was speaking in a radio interview on Accra-based Citi FM on Thursday evening, February 8, 2024, alleged that the Vice President was introducing the optional arm of the national service because he [Bawumia] did not do national service himself.

According to him, records at the National Service Secretariat indicate that Vice President Bawumia skipped national service.

“We have people like Bawumia skipping national service,” he stated, adding that “We must keep protecting this (NSS).”

Mr Kuagbenu said he was shocked when he heard Vice President Bawumia’s proposal on national service, adding “I was most scandalised hearing Vice President say this.”

For him, the national service allows new graduates to gain employable skills, arguing that “Vice president doesn’t want the youth to develop their skills.”

The former NSS boss rather called for more resources to be injected into the service to improve its operations.

National service for graduates will be optional under my Presidency – Bawumia

At his public lecture which he spoke about his vision in Accra on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, Dr. Bawumia indicated that he will make national service optional.

It was his argument that, some graduates are able to get job opportunities but because national service is mandatory, they are unable to accept those job offers.

He also indicated that some institutions were resorting to the use of national service personnel instead of offering permanent employments.

Dr. Bawumia stressed the need to prioritize job creation for Ghanaian youth and said he believes the current mandatory nature of national service might hinder that goal.

Under his proposed policy which he intends to implement if elected President, graduates who secure employment upon completing their education would be exempt from national service.

This exemption would make them immediately available to contribute to the workforce.

More broadly, Bawumia suggests making national service optional for all graduates. This would allow students the freedom to choose whether to participate, potentially opening up more immediate career opportunities.

Dr. Bawumia envisions this change encouraging companies to actively recruit on university campuses, directly connecting with a readily available pool of talent.

He said: “Ladies and Gentlemen, to help our youth get jobs, I believe it is time to rethink the concept of our current national service scheme. My government will propose that those who after completion of their education can secure jobs would be exempted from national service. National service will no longer be mandatory and students will have the option to decide whether to do national service. This will also encourage companies to go to campuses for recruitment annually.

source by : graphic news

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