National Service Scheme Uniform, National Service personnel have become ready-made material for teaching, especially, in rural areas where many trained teachers are not readily available.
Many basic schools in the country, especially, in the remote parts of Ghana, would have struggled to get the needed academic staff to man them if the service had not been introduced. When the military regime established the scheme, it also came up with Operation Feed Yourself, a concept that caught on like wildfire, and contributed to make this country food sufficient, especially, with our local produce.
We would like to believe that introducing the concept of feeding ourselves would help to wean this country from the over-reliance on foreign staples like rice, noodles and spaghetti, which are taking over from the known domestic staple foods for our kids. In schools and colleges, well-organised school farms could reduce the high cost of education, which is now threatening to go through the roof.
In the interim, it looks like national service will move a notch higher with the announcement that service personnel would be made to undergo military training. On Wednesday, Service Director Vincent Kuagbenu told an award ceremony for service personnel in Kumasi that service men and women would undergo military training before assuming duty.
We welcome this development. We are of the view that our service personnel would need the discipline that military service offers.
Elsewhere, military training forms an integral part of national service. Making it compulsory for service men and women to undergo military training would not only aide the physical conditions of our personnel, but would also make it possible for the military to make use of the large man-power available in the form of service men and women every year.
We are not sure though, what purpose the provision of uniforms for service personnel would serve. According to the Director of the Secretariat, service men and women would be made to wear uniforms to identify them from the rest of society, beginning from the next service schedule in October-November this year.
The Chronicle is unable to buy into this idea. We do not believe that graduates who never wore uniform while students need to be attired after graduation. Unless the service personnel are being posted into the security services, where the uniform is a strict dress code, we do not see our way clear in putting service men and women in uniform.
We do not believe that prescribing uniforms for service personnel would make them improve on their output. Instead, we recommend a period of training for them to improve on their chances of landing jobs after the service.
We believe that while the state would make use of their services, those giving their time and expertise to the cause of the nation also deserve to be properly equipped to land jobs after service.
The Chronicle is inviting the National Service Secretariat to look into how it could empower service men and women to improve on their chances of landing jobs, after giving so much to the state.