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A Background Study of the National Youth Service Corps Practiced Across the World
History of the National Youth Service Corps
Early in the 20th century, national youth service corps programs were first introduced in the United States. It may be dated back to a speech made at Stanford University by philosopher William James.
He said that “conscription of the whole youth population should labor on the harshest professions, from fishing fleets and coal and iron mines” (A Study of Promising Models in International Development Strategies 2011).
This lecture brought awareness to a fresh approach to youth development. Franklin Roosevelt, the president of the United States at the time, answered William James’s call to action by establishing a program in 1933 that encouraged young people to contribute to nation-building during the Great Depression.
The program’s official name was Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It can be claimed that this program was successful while it was in place since it allowed America to build magnificent structures and open up employment possibilities.
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International National Youth Service Corps
There are national youth service corps in many places, and they were established for various purposes. In different places of the world, it goes by many names.
In France, it is commonly referred to as civic service. “Civic service is a voluntary commitment on a general interest mission, which lasts for a period of 6 to 12 months, of 8 months on average, at the rate of at least 24 hours a week,” according to a description from the French Ministry of Culture (French Ministry of Culture 2021).
It is known as Servicio Social in Mexico. It was founded in 1936 to rebuild the nation following the Mexican Revolution.
The program was targeted at college freshmen and aims to develop politically, economically, and culturally aware citizens.
During this time of service, physicians are sent from urban to rural regions in an effort to narrow the wealth gap between the middle class and the peasantry.
It was formed in Kenya in 1964, one year after the nation gained independence. Defense is given more attention.
At the time of its founding, Kenya was experiencing instability, making it crucial for the nation to involve the youth in beneficial programs.
It was created to impart a culture of nation-building and rebuilding while simultaneously providing young Kenyan men and women with training in a variety of practical skills (Were 2019).
In order to promote a deeper sense of national solidarity and duty among all segments of Ghanaian society, a national youth service program was formed in Ghana in 1976 by military directive 208.
Its early focus was just on high school graduates but eventually expanded to include graduates of universities and other academic institutions. The program’s length was cut from two years to one year.
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Servicio Pais in Chile
It is known as Servicio Pais in Chile. Often, 16 to 25-year-olds are the target demographic.
These plans were put into action in the fields that each nation determined to be crucial, including, among others, defense, national cohesion, integration, health, education, culture and leisure, sport, community development, civics, and humanitarianism.
Not all of these initiatives are required, as with the Nigerian National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). Others, like the Americorps and Teach for America programs in the US, are optional.
The goal of the civic service was to generate a line of mature, self-assured youngsters. Not only are adolescents taught to have a strong will and be determined, but they are also taught how to interact with people regardless of their socioeconomic or cultural background.
It is crucial to understand that volunteering for a charity is not a need for employment. Nonetheless, it offers the participants an advantage over others who did not take part in the exercise; in other words, the abilities picked up can be useful.
Although it was designed with national unity and cohesiveness in mind, this does not diminish its capacity to instruct and instill new skills in the participants.
The requirements for entering this program vary from state to state. For instance, it is required for all undergraduates under the age of thirty in Nigeria.
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Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps
Any Nigerian citizen who has successfully finished a first-degree course at any Nigerian university is required to serve in the National Youth Service under the terms of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Decree No. 24 of 1973.
After the Nigerian Civil War, the NYSC program was established in an effort to rebuild, bring people together, and revitalize the nation.
The National Youth Service Corps Directorate’s policy is to send graduates to serve in countries other than their own home countries.
Married women who have children and can provide proof with a birth certificate of their children are the only group of married women who are exempt from this regulation.
For corps members who had reached the age of thirty, however, the exemption based on age was reinstated with effect from the 1984–1985 service year.
Call-Up to National Youth Service Corps
Before leaving their schools in the last semester, call-up letters are sent to all aspiring graduates.
The latter notifies them of the State in which they will be deployed as well as the date of their call-up, or the day on which they must register for National Service at the State capitals.
They get adequate travel reimbursements, which are periodically decided by the National Youth Service Corps Directorate.
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The NYSC’s bylaws and code of conduct serve as guidelines for each corps member. Each corps member receives quarterly updates on their progress from the Head of the Department they work for.
Each corps member receives an aide memoire, the code of conduct, and the bylaws upon joining the service. There are provisions for penalties when the code of conduct and/or bylaws are broken.
The Deputy Registrar can give students further information on the National Youth Service Corps (Students). The following are the scheme’s goals:
Goals of National Youth Service Corps
(a) To develop discipline in Nigerian youngsters by teaching them the values of the industry at work and patriotic and devoted devotion to the country in whatever circumstance;
(b) To develop their moral character by giving them the chance to learn about higher goals of cultural and national advancement;
(c) To cultivate in them mentalities that, through shared experience and appropriate training, will make them more receptive to mobilization in the benefit of the country;
(d) To foster national unity and forge connections amongst them by making sure that:
I youngsters are allocated to occupations in states other than their States of origin, wherever practicable;
(ii) Each team that has been appointed to collaborate is as representative of the nation as feasible.
(iii) In order to dispel stereotypes, eradicate ignorance, and affirm firsthand the numerous commonalities among Nigerians of all ethnic groups, young people are exposed to the country’s ways of life.
(e) To promote the free movement of labor by encouraging members of the service corps to look for professional employment across the nation after completing their corps service;
(f) To persuade companies to quickly hire competent Nigerians, regardless of their States of origin, in part due to their experience with members of the service corps; and
(g) To help young people in Nigeria develop a sense of independence.
Hence, the National Youth Service Corps’ primary goals are patriotism, strengthening national unity, promoting self-discipline, and instilling a culture of self-reliance.
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The National Youth Service Corps Program aims to establish discipline and bring awareness to youth development by teaching them the value of hard labor at work and of patriotic and devoted service to their Nation under any circumstance.