Ghanaian students who graduate from tertiary institutions are required by law under Act 426 of the 1992 constitution to do a one year national service to the country. The rationale behind the National Service Scheme (NSS) is to instill patriotism in citizens and help reduce graduate unemployment.
National service postings have finally been released and like every other year, the story is no different. Most graduates are dissatisfied because they have been posted to places they are unfamiliar with.
I’m just thinking aloud, but it would do us all some good if graduates are posted to fields related to their academic specialization; banking graduates to the banks and “susu’’ agencies, public health graduates to the clinics and ebola control centers and journalists to Adom TV and GBC. It is understandable that the NSS aims to equip young graduates with the skills to face life’s situations and prepare them for the job market, but what does a business management graduate stand to benefit by serving as a traffic warden?
But let’s look on the brighter side. The implementation of the NSS has helped with cultural integration in Ghana. Today, Araba Kuntu Blankson can serve freely in Navrongo. The scheme is also one of the few opportunities for people to step out of their comfort zone and experience a different part of the country thereby fostering understanding and unity. The skills and experiences acquired during the period of service become of great benefit to the graduate. So it’s not a failing project after all.
A bit of rebranding could make it more attractive, for instance, motor bikes can be provided for those posted to remote areas where means of transport is non-existent. These could be made available yearly to service personnel to aid transportation, however these bikes would be kept at the various district assemblies for the subsequent year’s service. This would lighten the burden of NSS personnel and enhance their output. Also, graduates may be more willing and likely to put in their best when posted to fields related to their study specialization.
All this is not going to happen next week, so until then, remember the mission is to serve the nation.
Go out there! Explore, save some money from the little monthly stipend, start a business; it could be popcorn or kokonte. Give it your best shot, and while you’re at it look beyond, scout for scholarships, volunteer, start an advanced degree program if you can, network and apply for part time jobs. This is where even serving in the most dreaded areas such as schools becomes an added advantage since you would have end of term vacations and will not to have to spend eight hours each day in the classroom.
Make plans. Brighten your little corner. And more importantly, find yourself.
Written by Abigail Asaa
Circumspecte offers insights and perspectives on business, development, lifestyle, culture, careers and human interest issues related to Africa and Africans.