National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) was set up to encourage ease of movement for Nigerians. It used to be a gateway for securing decent jobs. For a long time now, this is not the case in, as at the end of the service year is when the real hustle begins.
Nigeria sends thousands of youths out every year to different parts of the country for the purpose of youths given back to the country that has supported them through their years of higher education. This was supposed to help us learn and appreciate our uniqueness as a nation better.
This reason was a welcomed one given the experience of Biafra War.
Clearly, NYSC has not changed our skewed view of one another in the country but why do we still make youth service corp a mandatory service for Nigerian graduates?
Who is benefitting from this program in today’s Nigeria?
Most of the graduates regardless of field of study would end up teaching with zero knowledge of teaching.
For example a Biochemistry graduate posted to a secondary school is thrown into the job from day one.
In Nigeria, we have 74 federal/state universities.
47 approved private universities. The ‘approved’ there signifies we have handfuls of others still operating without the government official approval. The unapproved operating tertiary institutions means their students are moved to an approved schools during the final years.
Also, another important thing to note here is that most of the 47 private universities in Nigeria are owned by the religious leaders and politicians.
Most children of primary and secondary school age attend private schools. The trend started aggressively in the 1990s and has gone way beyond any logic.
Private schools in Nigeria is not like any other nations – we have at least about 100 different grades of private schools, some of which no child should be sent to – it is in every street, some are as big as a decent living room.
Also, we have a handful that are as expensive as any private schools in the West if not more. This is where the selected few send their children for primary school education before being wheeled abroad for boarding.
And the different range in the middle is very wide – No defined guide by the government, pocket size largely dictates the type of education received.
Now on the Otondo (Corpers):
The government had spent enormous amount of money over the last four decades on this program i.e 3 weeks training, the facilities and the uniform, and continuing to do so given increasing population.
Youth corpers literally overlapping at their place of primary assignment (PPA) nowadays. Sometimes, the PPA would reject giving ‘no vacancy’ as the reason so the said graduate would have to look for someplace else that would accept.
Nigeria government currently pays 19,800k naira/month for each corper. Not less than a third of these are teaching/working at private companies set up by religious leaders and politicians – Free and imposed employees every year.
In essence, we go round the circle.
And there is the case of ghost Corpers – these guys received their certificate of completion and all the benefits such as the monthly stipend but would not spend a day at the place of primary assignment. Their official certificate issued after ‘wetting the floor’ of the government officials.
At the end of the one year service, there is absolutely no guarantee of getting a job that could pay close to the stipend of the service year, many would be lucky to have any job at all.
Why do we still do NYSC?