Hello, reforms! Short takes from the Ministry of Youth Development’s new plans for NYSC

by ‘Ifreke Inyang

The Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, has announced new propositions for the National Youth Service Scheme. The power point document which is available on the website takes us through the history of the scheme and the new plans in the works.

According to the document, the current challenges faced by the NYSC require immediate and acute attention. These problems include:

1. Current realities have resulted in the need to improve security for members of the Service Corps posted to various parts of the country

2. High government investment and non-commensurate return through measurable metrics

3. Increased rate of unemployment after the year of service to create self-reliant participants

4. Interference by members of the elite, affecting equitable distribution of members of the Service Corps

5. Unenthusiastic attitude of some members of the Service Corps undergoing the scheme. Need for  rebranding of the scheme to incorporate current realities

6. NYSC can be transformed into a sought-after experience that drives national economic transformation

It also said the future NYSC will have a clear value proposition for the nation. Youth Corps members will be mobilised and deployed to Serve Nigeria. These value propositions include:

1. Focus service on areas of national priority in line with the Transformation Agenda – Agriculture, Education, Rural Health and  Infrastructure

2. Invest in rural development in tandem with the NYSC mandate through the equitable distribution of skilled youth workforce across the nation

3. Deepen the vision of national integration as highlighted by the NYSC Act

Youth Corps members will leave service better equipped to be employers and employees and the proposed new scheme will:

1. Provide marketable skills to prepare Corps members for the labour force

2. Encourage entrepreneurship and create future employers

3. Strengthen the NYSC programme content and mode of delivery to make them more relevant and impactful.

The security of the corpers will not be ignored. Security interventions will include the following;

1. Utilise technology in supporting security efforts e.g. security alerts, early warning systems

2. Strengthen collaboration with sister agencies, e.g., The Nigerian Police force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps etc.

3. Implement functional Distress Centres with detailed and clearly communicated emergency response procedures

4. Heighten partnership and participation from local government leadership (e.g., creating MOU on security responses)

5. Ensure all tiers of government live up to their constitutional responsibilities

6. Provision of robust insurance coverage by the Federal Government

The next steps the Ministry is planning to take are:

1. Set up an NYSC Reform team to create a strategic roadmap that delineates specific reform initiatives to begin implementation by February 2012

2. Begin process of stakeholder engagement and sensitisation

3. Make presentation on fiscal and administrative responsibilities of the three tiers of government to the National Council of States as directed in Paragraph 6.5 of the Government White Paper on The Report Of The Technical Committee On The Re-organisation Of The NYSC Scheme (April 2003).

The NYSC  has launched a National Distress Call Centre for corps members. According to Ohimai Amaize, “The new NYSC Distress Call Centre will be open 24 hours 7 days a week. The security number will be unveiled to the incoming corps members.”

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