Established in 1973, National Service Scheme (NSS) is a Government of Ghana program under the Ministry of Education of Ghana with a National Secretariat in Accra, and offices in all administrative regions and districts across the country.
The scheme is mandated to deploy a pool of skilled manpower drawn primarily from tertiary institutions to support the development efforts of both the public and private sectors in Ghana. It is a citizenry requirement for all Ghanaians and it is mandatory for all Ghanaians graduating from tertiary educational institutions who are not less than eighteen years old.
The original intent of deploying freshly graduating youth under the NSS arrangements is to ensure that priority sectors of our national life are never lacking in the requisite human resources needed for development.
Despite the fact that the Scheme gives qualified graduates the opportunity to have practical exposure on the job, both in the public and private sector the Scheme has received a lot of backlashes. These backlashes according to personnel have brought discomforts which have brought many challenges to them
In analyzing how the Scheme works, it gives opportunities for graduates to choose two regions where they would want to have the service. After selecting the two regions, the scheme then places the graduates in any of the regions they chose. And this procedure to some graduates is disturbing. But what could cause the discomforts?
According to most graduates, the influence in the selection of region most importantly is where they can beat the cost of accommodation and get the support of family members when their salaries are delayed. And to them, this has never been successful.
For instance, if for this reason a graduate chooses Central Region and thinking his or her relatives are say in Assin Fosu; accommodation, utilities, and other expenses won’t be a problem. But the Scheme might end up placing him or her maybe in Agona Swedru or Kasoa which are all in Central Region. In fact, no one can go to work and come back on daily basis from Fosu to Kasoa or Swedru despite all being situated in the central region.
Therefore the graduate has to now go in search of accommodation and pay for a year advance out of an allowance which interestingly would delay for a month or two before one receives his or her first allowance.
And more fascinating is the fact that they even have to spend money on transportation from where their houses are located to their workplaces because getting accommodation is not a guarantee that your workplace will be closer to your house.
And they would have to do all these out from their scrimpy salaries when standards of living have gone high. It’s out of the amount as low as five hundred and fifty-nine Ghana cedis that these young graduates will survive their daily bread from it, get transportation from it and pay his rent from it.
Is it a service that should bring a burden on the young graduates? It should be stressed that at this point most parents live their lives in the hands of their children because they think they’ve done their best with the exception of those who come from good homes. One can imagine what surviving in Accra as a person can be like. Don’t leaders know this is the reality on the ground? Why don’t scrap this problem of giving graduates discomfort if they can not properly address the issues that come with it?
Parents and guardians would never be left out of this burden as they would have to depend on loans with huge interest for their children to settle for their accommodation and support them in the period of their children’s service. Because interestingly, the first salary even comes after two or three months.
I personally think the reason for this laudable initiative has lost its value. Because there’s no joy for personnel to work wholeheartedly. Work output is very low. And there is a waste of money if the government would have to pay a huge sum of money when work output is not efficient.
Lest to forget what these discomforts turn graduates is they connive with some officials and friends at the workplaces to undertake every activity for them so they give them a percentage of their salary in order to secure them a better thing to do such as undertaking a year course or even getting a better job to do as he or she can not bear the cost of living as at where he or she has been posted.
But the question is should a Scheme that is aimed to help the youth acquire leadership qualities turn them to be corrupt? Well, our leaders of mother Ghana need to answer this question.
Writer: Eyison Amankwah Joseph