All youths could soon be compelled to undergo six months of national service
Until the early 1980s, it was compulsory for all pre-university students to undergo rigorous training programmes, including paramilitary training through the National Youth Service (NYS).
In the BBI team’s recommendations submitted to President Uhuru Kenyatta and other leaders on November 26, the report proposes that all Kenyans should give six months of their lives to national service between the ages of 18 and 26.
“All Kenyans should voluntarily give six months of their lives to national service between the ages of 18 and 26, as a means of developing personal responsibility through service to others. All Kenyans should be encouraged to give their time to volunteering and service,” the document outlines.
The document further proposes that government departments draw up Corporate Social responsibility initiatives linked to this, encourage volunteer clubs in all schools and that plans should be devised for involving those not in school.
“There should be a national volunteer network that allows efforts that need volunteers to sign on and be connected to those who want to serve; this network should also offer certification of completed volunteering stints. Incentives, including by making this a requirement of applying for Public Service jobs, should be considered,” the document proposes.
In 2014, a new NYS was re-launched with a promise by President Uhuru Kenyatta that his government would revamp the service and return its glorious past.
Enrollment to the service today is voluntary for Kenyan youth aged between 18-22 years old.
Upon enlistment, the recruits are subjected to rigorous non-combat paramilitary training for 6 months.
After successfully completing the compulsory national service, the recruits are sent to technical and vocational schools within NYS to train in various fields such as agriculture, engineering and hospitality.
The training is free of charge to all recruits.