The National Service Scheme (NSS) has rolled out an online portal that seeks to improve service delivery and address the challenges associated with the manual registration system.
By that initiative, prospective service persons for the 2018/19 service year will be required to enrol onto the scheme and also go through registration processes using online means.
The new system is a paradigm shift from the previous system where the enrolment and registration processes were done manually, creating chaotic scenes at registration centres.
In the new dispensation, all tertiary institutions and user agencies will be hooked on to an online portal that has been created by the NSS to serve as an interface between the scheme and those organisations.
The deployment process which usually begins with the writing of letters to the educational institutions to submit a list of final year students to the scheme will no longer exist because the institutions will be given a prompt on the online portal on each process.
A unique feature of the new system is the robust verification mechanisms put in place to check impersonation, duplication of data and fraud in the deployment process.
For instance, there is a QR code to scan valid identification documents - voters' identification card, driving license, passport, and social security and national insurance trust (SSNIT) cards, one of which is required to activate the application process.
Another key feature of the new system is that the online process will assign a specific date for each prospective service person to visit the regional office of the scheme to register to avoid long queues.
As part of processes to implement the new system, the NSS management organised a stakeholders' forum to solicit views on how to deal with the challenges in the system.
Participants included students and officials drawn from educational institutions as well as representatives of user agencies.
A section of the participants
Throwing more light on the new system, the Executive Director of NSS, Mr Ussif Mustapha, said the focus of the scheme was to remove all barriers to the scheme, especially the registration process.
"The focus is to double-check all data that are generated in the enrolment and deployment processes," he said.
Mr Mustapha urged all stakeholders to be abreast of the new system to ensure that the challenges that had characterised the NSS registration process were removed.
A member of the NSS board, Dr Kingsley Nyarko, stressed that the new paradigm was key to building a robust system for the deployment of service persons.
He said the process would ensure that reliable and credible data was generated to facilitate the deployment of service persons.
The management of the NSS posts thousands of service personnel to user agencies across the country each year in line with Act 426 (1980) that requires all Ghanaians who are 18 years and above to do a mandatory one year national service after completing tertiary education.
Per the arrangement, prospective service persons begin the registration process at regional offices of the scheme where their forms will be endorsed.
They are expected to complete the registration process by submitting the endorsed appointment letters to the heads of the user agencies they have been posted to.
The registration process has been replete with challenges over the years, including formation of long queues at registration centres, delays in payment of allowances for some NSS persons because of impersonation and inaccuracy of data and rejection of some personnel by user agencies.
The new system is meant to cure these ills and ensure prudent management of the scheme.