Now That The Clarion Call Has Been Obeyed, What Next?

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NYSC Deployment
NYSC Deployment

Ayobola Eniola

Today, the employment market will see a spike in its numbers by the entry of an estimated seventy thousand (70,000) youths corp members passing out today.

The 2018 Batch ‘A’ corp members, who began their service year on the 19th of April 2018, will pass out today in the traditional passing out parade (POP).

The scheme, which was created by General Yakubu Gowon in 1973 in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil War, has come under criticism in recent times, over its effectiveness and validity in this modern age.

Argument against the scheme has it that with the increasing rate of unemployment—which has gone from 18.8% in Q3 2017 to 23.1% in Q3, 2018 according to a Labor Force Statistics (Q3 2017 – Q3 2018) by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics—it will be a better idea to use the N83bn budget for the scheme (as at 2018) to create funds for graduates in small and medium enterprises, SMEs.

The Argument for the scheme has it that it is a national heritage and a symbol of Nigeria’s unity, therefore it should continue to be sustained.

Current innovative and technological ventures being explored in advanced societies are been driven mostly by youths (15-34), the same age bracket that is dominant in the ‘unemployed’ category here in Nigeria. Despite efforts by the NYSC to create programs (such as SAED) that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, the logistics and management of these programs are poor and produce little results that fall flat beside the grim reality of the Nigerian system.

Thriving systems all over the world are such systems that can be described with words like “entrepreneurial”, “technological”, “innovative”, and “youth-driven”.

In the weeks leading to the passing out ceremony today, there has been an air of despair around the serving corp members as to their fate after passing out. The real concern is the state of employability of these youths.

Of the 9.7 million unemployed that did absolutely nothing as at Q3 2018, 90.1% of them or 8.77 million were reported to be unemployed and doing nothing because they were first-time job seekers and have never worked before.

Many corps members are absorbed into the scheme immediately after graduation from the university and have little or no working experience prior.

This is a problem in a system where one of the criteria for employment is “working experience.” A bulk of corps members are flung into secondary schools, some are posted into dead-beat Federal or State ministries where productive activities are rare feats.

Very few get into companies or ministries where they are empowered with relevant skills and knowledge that improves their chances of employability.

The NYSC scheme doesn’t need to be scrapped, it only needs to be reviewed to align its practices with what is obtainable in this 21st century. The scheme should be an advantage to the youths and not a hindrance. It must empower the youths with the right tools and skills that place them at a competitive advantage with their peers in advanced nations.

If the scheme won’t meet up to these expectations, the funds allocated yearly to sustain it should be converted into seed funding for graduates to run SMEs.

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