Editorial

National Service Corps shows someone is thinking

Friday, June 30, 2017

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We are indeed very happy that the first batch of 250 recruits in the new National Service Corps (NSC) programme are in house at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) training facility at Newcastle in St Andrew and have already started their training.

As we understand it, this is the first of four batches to be trained by the JDF in military, vocational and other life skills over a period of one year.

We have been informed that during the training period recruits will undergo a modified version of the JDF's traditional basic military training. They will also undergo on-the-job training in various aspects of the JDF's operational units (coast guard, air wing and engineering), as well as training in conflict resolution, communication, critical thinking, and general life skills.

It is particularly commendable that the subject matters of conflict resolution and critical thinking are included on the curriculum of these recruits. These are areas which are often shoved under the carpet, despite conclusive evidence from the police and other state agencies that failure by Jamaicans to resolve, especially domestic problems, are taking a toll on us. There are just too many instances with the end result being crimes which could have been avoided by rational thinking and the ability to choose reason over confrontation.

To support the latter position, we take note of similar programmes and their implementation and results in countries like Switzerland, Israel and South Korea. Our reports indicate that in these countries, over time, the programme, crafted to meet their own exigencies, have resulted in less crime, more orderliness and greater discipline. That is why this newspaper gives its firm support to the NSC programme as a progressive attempt to inject positive, well-trained young people into our communities.

We are also buoyed by the announcement that, after completion of training, the youngsters, age 18-23, will be given the opportunity to continue as soldiers in the JDF or join other government agencies.

It is our hope that these 250 recruits will make use of the opportunities afforded to them and will equip themselves well with the training to be pursued and set the stage not only for their own personal development to become leaders in their communities. They should recognise that, in that regard, they are trailblazers.

While we give our unwavering support to the NSC programme, we are encouraging the government to significantly boost the well-known and proven HEART Trust/NTA which has or will soon subsume the functions of the National Youth Service and the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning, decades-old entities known for educating and training young people and older adults alike.

The aspect of the programme where young people, after finishing school and without the early possibility of gaining employment, are placed in private sector companies for approximately two years should be targeted for expansion.

The NSC programme is clearly a welcomed addition to the previous efforts. We applaud the thinking of the Government on this one.

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