Since 1973, Ghanaians who are 18 years and above undergo a mandatory one-year national service at the end of their tertiary education.
This is in accordance with the Ghana National Service Scheme Act, (Act 426, 1980), which mandated the youth to do the service aimed at developing the spirit of national service among all segments of Ghanaian society.
Over the years, national service personnel have contributed significantly to nation building, especially to people living in hard-to-reach communities, providing essential services and amenities to them.
Per the arrangement, prospective service personnel are expected to begin the registration process at regional offices of the scheme where their forms will be endorsed.
They are also expected to complete the registration process by submitting the endorsed appointment letters to the heads of the user agencies they have been posted to for approval before they officially begin the service.
Personnel posted to those agencies perform different roles just like the full-time employees, in some cases, even more than such employees.
It is a common practice to see such institutions or establishments requesting for a number of personnel only to show them the exit at the end of the service period.
However, over the years, the number of graduates turned out to undergo the national service has increased as a result of the growing number of tertiary institutions in the country.
For instance, this year, 91,871 graduates have been posted with 85 per cent of the number going to the public sector while the remaining 15 per cent have been posted to the private sector.
This has led to some institutions turning away prospective personnel with the excuse that they do not have enough space to accommodate them.
The Daily Graphic considers the posture of these organisations unfortunate, especially when it is a mandatory exercise and the certificate issued is one of the requirements for employment in the public sector.
It is common knowledge that some of the establishments, which hitherto requested for a significant number of personnel, are now shying away because they now have to pay GH¢559 as allowance instead of GH¢350 that pertained last year.
The Daily Graphic thinks that the organisations where these personnel are posted should consider giving these young ones the opportunity to serve their nation.
We also believe that the present challenges offer an opportunity for the secretariat to channel many more of the personnel into the agricultural sector in the government’s flagship policy of Planting for Food and Jobs, as well as to the teaching field in the rural areas where in some cases only two or three teachers are manning an entire school.
One other area the scheme continues to grapple with is the attitude of some parents who parade the corridors of influential people to intervene for their children to be posted to the urban areas instead of where their services are most needed.
The Daily Graphic appeals to parents, relatives and the powers that be to stop interfering in the work of the NSS so that it can have the free hand to execute its mandate.
We also urge the acting Executive Director of the scheme, Mr Ussif Mustapha, to be firm with the postings and ensure that personnel get the worth of the certificate they receive at the end of the service.