National Service Scheme Ghana, Ghanaian students who graduate from accredited tertiary institutions are required under law to do a one-year national service to the country. The National Service Secretariat (NSS) is the Government of Ghana agency mandated to formulate policies and structures for national service.
Structure of the NSS
Organogram of the NSS
The organogram of the service has the Board of the service at the top. The Board supervises the activities of the Executive Director and two Deputy Executive Directors. One deputy is the Head of Finance and Administration and the other is in charge of the service’s operations. The Executive Director and the Deputies supervise the activities of the Heads of various Departments. At the regional level, the service is headed by the Regional Director who in turn supervises the work of the various District Directors. The service has Regional Heads in all the ten regional capitals of the country. The service has a staff strength of 342.[
Terms of service
All graduates from Ghanaian tertiary institutions must complete a one-year national service. Every year several ten of thousands of graduates are posted to various sectors as service personnel. In 2009 – 2010 service year, about 67,000 graduates were posted. In the 2010 – 2011 service year, 50,069 personnel were posted. The service is done irrespective of type of sponsorship the individual may have received or the country in which the tertiary course was pursued in. The personnel upon posting to an establishment is subject to the rules and regulations that govern it. In case where the establishment’s rules conflict with that of the NSS, the latter’s is used. Again, graduates who are sponsored by certain institutions to offer tertiary programmes return to those institutions. All benefits that the service personnel is entitled to shall be frozen till the personnel complete their service.[
Service personnel are paid monthly allowances. The amount paid is determined by the Ministry of Finance. The allowance that is approved is what the ministry would pay the personnel throughout the service year. Payment is calculated from the date the service personnel reports for duty at his/her designated post. Personnel posted to statutory boards, corporations and churches or quasi-church organizations are paid by those establishments and not the secretariat.
All personnel are entitled to a month’s annual terminal leave for the year that spans their service. The month leave is usually given in August to all personnel.
Female service personnel may apply for a 3-month maternity leave. If the leave is granted the personnel, she is to serve for three extra months to make up for the period of service lost. Heads of user-agencies and employers are expected to inform both the Executive Director and the Regional Directors of the Secretariat before anyone proceeds on maternity Leave and when they resume duty. Personnel who are granted maternity leaves are not paid during the time of their leave.
Offenses under the NSS Act
The NSS is governed by Act 426 under which there are the following offenses:
Personnel who do not report to their posts after 3 months of being posted are considered to have evaded the service. For such a personnel, appropriate sanctions under Act 426 are applied.
A Service Person that takes up posting but does not complete the full period, without proper authorization from the Board shall be declared a deserter. Three months after desertion, the service person shall be declared an evader. Any National Service rendered before desertion will be nullified and personnel on reporting back to the National Service Secretariat shall be made to start afresh.
Service Personnel who post themselves to establishments/institutions other than those, to which they were officially posted, either with or without the knowledge of the Heads of those establishments, are declared self-posters and their service with the establishments is not recognized by the NSS.
Exemption from national service
Candidates for national service may on application be exempted from service by the National Service Board on production of valid documentary evidence establishing that:
- an individual who has undertaken National Service at an earlier date.
- a graduate who is 40 years old or more.
End of Service
A Service person shall be issued with a Certificate of National Service after the successful completion of the service. An assessment form duly commented on and signed by the Service Person should have been completed by the employer and forwarded to the Regional Coordinator by the end of May each year