Every year, graduating students are registered into the Ghana National Service Scheme (NSS). The Scheme was instituted by law to assist new graduates to learn and transition into the corporate or working environment. National Service is mandatory for every Ghanaian student who graduates within the year. You are given a certificate at the end of your service to the nation as proof of your successful completion of the national service.
With a mission to “Mobilize and Deploy Ghanaian citizens of 18 years and above for National Development” and a vision to be the “Leader in Youth Service”, the National Service Secretariat was created as the administrative body for the national service scheme.
National service provides young and vibrant people of the country with the opportunity to serve the nation while building on their knowledge with real-world practice of what they have acquired in the education system.
In this article, we will look at what exactly the national service is, why it’s compulsory, and some surprise topics for new registrants to the scheme. If you are about to start national service, this post is for you.
What is Ghana National Service?
The Ghana National Service is a mandatory one-year service to the country where fresh graduates from the age of 18 but below 40 work under a private or public institution as a statutory requirement. Over 86,000 graduates registered for the national service in the 2020/2021 service period.
The Ghana National Service Scheme Act of 1980, Act 426 established the National Service scheme. Currently, national service persons serve the country for one year with a month leave period often set in August by default. The original law NRCD 208 of 1973 required a service person to do two years. However, this changed in 1980.
The Importance of The Ghana National Service
The national service scheme was created to reach certain goals and objectives within Ghanaian communities.
1. Establish the Spirit of Nationalism and Service Among Young Ghanaians
Working selflessly toward the betterment of the country is a great feeling. It is a true reflection of ideas taught in our schools.
Through such volunteer work, Ghanaian youth get to see the real problems that need solving to inform their career paths, innovation, and business ideas.
Through national service, young Ghanaians learn to give themselves selflessly in service to the country.
2. Provide Deprived Areas with Basic Workforce Requirements
The national service period is the time when a lot of young people travel from the city or town where they live. Most people get the opportunity to see parts of the country that were previously only imagined or seen through television.
It helps young people to touch base with the real problems facing ordinary Ghanaian people.
Through such experiences, young people can innovate, start businesses and come up with sustainable solutions to solve the country’s numerous problems.
3. Execute Community Development Projects
The national service has special programs which allow young people the freedom to come up with community development projects to improve the lives of citizens.
4. Develop the Skills and Experience level of Fresh Graduates
University students may take up internships during their study time. However, most of it is short and not in-depth to provide the relevant experience and skills. Yet some students do not take internships in institutions where it is optional to do internships.
National Service provides that avenue where fresh graduates can obtain industry knowledge, experience and even acquire some relevant skills in the current job market.
How to Register for the National Service on the Portal
You do not have to do anything as a graduating student to get into the national service database. Your institution will provide your details which allows you to have a PIN code when they are released.
- Pin codes are released by the national service secretariat. The PIN code is made available via the NSS portal where you will perform the rest of the processes.
- Upon retrieving your PIN code, you have to make a payment to activate your PIN code on the national service portal. Your payment is to be made through the national service portal via mobile money transfer. The fee is usually GH40 and should not be paid to any individual.
- The placements follow after you have made payment and submitted your details through the national service portal. Placement or postings will be released after registration.
- Next is to check for placement or posting on the national service portal after which you go ahead to print your appointment letter
- Submit the appointment letter to the user agency or institution to which you have been posted for endorsement.
- Right after your appointment letter has been endorsed, schedule an appointment for validation and acceptance on the national service website. The appointment is usually scheduled at your district office. If you do not know your district, check your documentation or call the national service secretariat.
- Required biometric registration is then carried out at the same district office where you submitted your registration documents for validation.
- After the biometric registration and days into your service, you would be required to log in to your dashboard. There would be an option to enter your e-zwitch card details.
This is very important since your monthly allowance paid around the 15th of every month will be credited to your e-zwitch account. There are no other payment options. A keynote here is that you must load your allowance before it reflects in your account. Sometimes, you may check your balance only to find it the same as before.
It is also important to load your allowance since not doing so means your money is not fully received and can easily be retrieved by the service secretariat, especially after months. If you want to save your allowance, load it first and preferably move it into an investment account.
The Truth About Special Posting
It’s easy to get wooed when you are desperate to be posted to a “Good Place”. For some, they don’t want to travel outside of their original region of stay, others want where they can be paid huge sums, and yet others want a place where they don’t have to do a lot of work. The aims of the program are specific which is why the program is only one year.
In seeking all these benefits, you can easily fall victim to “Special Posting” adverts and people posing as representatives of the national service. The truth however is that the service secretariat reserves the right to post anyone registered under the scheme to any of their 3 regions of choice. And to any town or village.
This is to prevent any form of discrimination against minorities. And to fulfill the objective of getting young people to understand the grassroots of the country. Through such understanding, solutions can be developed to help the country develop and grow.
Sometimes, you may actually get a “special posting” but get rejected by the user agency. Such a situation is unsavory because, at the time you get rejected, most institutions would have already offered positions to others. This means you become even more desperate and may end up at a place you were trying to circumvent.
The truth about special posting when it comes to Ghana national service is that you cannot trust it. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t genuine ways to get the institution of your choice.
How to Get Into Your Preferred Organisation (The Right Way)
The national service secretariat allows user agencies thus public institutions and private organizations to request for national service persons. Private businesses are obligated to pay 20% of the service person’s allowance. National service persons are not paid salaries.
This is an opportunity for you to get to work where you want if you are able to get the user agency to make a request for using your service number and other details. Another option is that the user agency gives you a letter to submit to the national service secretariat requesting that you be posted to their organization.
The good thing is that quite a lot of good organizations have national service programs where they conduct tests and interviews to recruit national service persons. This is your opportunity.
For other organizations, you may have to take the initiative and submit an unsolicited application letter hoping to get a response.
There may be no straight formula but you can get to work at a decent place if you reach out with your experience and skills.
Quick FAQs About The Ghana National Service
Fresh Ghanaian graduates of 18 years and above but less than 40 years of age. It doesn’t matter the country of schooling. National service is compulsory for all Ghanaians within the stipulated age range and requirements of the national service scheme.
The Ghana National Service usually commences in the month of September and a leave month in August of the following year.
You check your posting through the national service portal. Do not pay anyone for this service.
Yes. National Service in Ghana is compulsory as provided by law.
The NSS dashboard can be found when you log in as a national service person on the national service portal.
It takes one (1) year.
National service has been designed for a specific set of goals and objectives. With those objectives in mind, you can make the best of your national service period. Past national service persons have gained experience, skills, knowledge which either got them maintained or enabled them to get a good offer at another institution. Make sure you make the best of your experience.
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