In an unprecedented move, the National Service Secretariat has completed deploying a total of 70 thousand 407 National Service Personnel to various institutions across the country for the 2016, 2017 service year, three clear months ahead of the commencement of the service.
About 30 thousand more are expected to be posted in due course, bringing the total number of personnel who will be doing national service to a little mpre than 100 thousand.
The National Service Secretariat needs to be commended for its pro activeness in ensuring the timely release of postings this year.
According to a statement signed by the Acting Director of the NSS, Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte, the early release of the postings was to afford prospective service personnel, sufficient time to prepare before they take up their postings later in September.
The statement adds, and I quote. “the early release was to offer user agencies sufficient time to organize in-service orientation and training programs for the service personnel posted to their outfits, to adequately prepare them to take up the challenges as they transit from school life into the world of work,’ unquote.
Often, placements have been made too close to the start of the service and personnel are not given enough time to prepare to take up their positions, some of which are very far from their places of abode.
With the early postings, common challenges such as lack of accommodation, limited spaces at establishments where service persons are posted and mix-ups will be cleared before the actual commencement of the service.
It is significant to state that national service has come to stay as a very effective way of inculcating in the youth a sense of responsibility and independence, as well as experience in the management of their resources and their chosen vocations.
However, the NSS has an uphill task in placing all service personnel in jobs where they could get practical experience to top up their academic knowledge in various fields because there are only few places in industry for them.
That explains why different modules have been developed in sanitation, road safety, fire prevention, traffic control, among others, to ensure that all personnel are placed in places where they can effectively serve the country.
Even though the essence of national service is to create avenues for students to serve the country after school, the secretariat needs to iron out any bottlenecks in administration to ensure that personnel are paid their allowances on time so that national service does not become ‘national suffering’, as is often referred to.
It is pertinent to say that no matter where personnel are posted, they should be able to serve the nation with humility and pride, that is why they should not be made to suffer unduly by way of unexplained and unnecessary delays in the payment of their monthly allowances.
It is a fact that some places where personnel are posted to to deliver their services are so remote and deprived and the only motivation for such personnel will be the regular and timely payment of their allowances.
Going forward, there will be the need to consider an upward adjustment in the current monthly allowance paid to service personnel, in view of the increases in the cost of living in the country.
Similarly, beneficiary user agencies and institutions should also consider giving service personnel a token every month to motivate them to give off their best during the service period.
Service personnel are urged to give their best as they serve the nation, since, by so doing, they will not only carve a niche for themselves but also gain permanent employment as a result of their hard and dedicated work.
Nonetheless, national service still remains a service to the nation, by which the service personnel pay back society’s investment in their education, for which reason compensation should be secondary.
After all, former US President John F. Kennedy, once said, “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”.
God bless Mother Ghana.
BY DAN OSMAN MWIN, PRO, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION.