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Recent developments at the National Service Scheme

Mon, 22 Oct 2018 Source: Alhassan Salifu Bawah

There have been some developments of late, at the National Service Scheme (NSS), which require a polite second opinion.

The Executive Director of the NSS, Hon. Mustafa Ussif, recently made a comment that the NSS was in the process of 'fishing' out those who per the provisions of Act 426, were mandated to render National Service, but failed to do so, and compel them to honour their obligations.

The Executive Director went on to appeal to the 'defaulters' to contact the NSS for the necessary processes to begin. This is in the right direction.

The NSS is into income generation ventures such as farming and others. Therefore, since income generation is clearly within the NSS mandate, wouldn't it be in the interest of the NSS in particular, and Ghana as a whole, to 'surcharge' the 'defaulters' and thereby generate some income for the State? Those 'defaulters', are already gainfully employed, and therefore, it would serve no purpose just to 'fish' them out, and post them to the same entities. This stance by the NSS appears to tag honouring the one year National Service obligation, as a form of 'punishment'.

It is also apparent that with the huge number of graduates being churned out by the tertiary institutions in Ghana, the NSS might struggle in the future to place all graduates for National Service.

The NSS might therefore, consider making proposals to Parliament, to have the relevant Sections of Act 426 amended, so that in lieu of rendering National Service, a fee is paid by graduates who wish to opt out of rendering National Service.

Looking at the even larger number of graduates that would be produced by the various tertiary institutions in Ghana in the next few years following the implementation of the free Senior High School education policy and the double track system, it is reasonably foreseeable that the NSS would struggle to place all graduates in the not too distant future.

This write-up would be incomplete, if mention is not made of the recent public statements emanating from the Ashanti Regional Director of the NSS, in which he made vain attempts to implicate the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) Kumasi Campus, in acts, which are clearly outside the jurisdiction of UEW in particular and all tertiary institutions in general.

Apart from supplying the final year students’ lists to the NSS, what role has any tertiary institution in Ghana, got to play with the posting and registration of Service Personnel?

Furthermore, the tertiary institutions are only required to feed the NSS with the final year students list, as a result, any final year student who had previously rendered his/her National Service, and whose name is forwarded to the NSS, will definitely not go through the registration processes of the NSS, and as a matter of fact, will automatically drop out of the NSS radar.

How come therefore, the students from the UEW Kumasi Campus, managed to register and got posted to render Service for the 2018/19 Service year?

It must be on record that the tertiary institutions cannot determine which student or students, had previously rendered National Service before pursuing undergraduate studies. This is why the NSS only requires the various tertiary institutions to furnish it with the final year list of students, and wash their hands off what happens afterwards.

Whether a student after graduation, registers for National Service or not, is NOT the responsibility of any tertiary institution in Ghana.

How those students (whether real human beings or 'ghosts'), from the Kumasi Campus of UEW, managed to register and ended up being posted to various parts of the country to render National Service, is outside the control of UEW. Only the Ashanti Regional Director of the NSS, and the affected students, can provide the relevant answers, to any investigative body.

UEW has no role to play in the registration and posting of Service Personnel, period!! Hon. Mustafa Ussif, you don't have to look far for the perpetrators of that alleged fraud! The 'enemy' is right in front of you!

Alhassan Salifu Bawah

(Son of an upright peasant farmer)

Columnist: Alhassan Salifu Bawah

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