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18.08.2004 General News

Striking HND students to miss national service

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Accra, Aug 18, GNA- Mr Boniface Gambila, Director of the National Service Scheme, on Wednesday reminded striking final year Higher National Diploma students, that the Scheme would cover only students who have completed their tertiary education.

"The Scheme would only deal with graduates who have been passed out by their institutions. We have no business with non graduates." Mr Gambila was answering questions from journalists, after a press briefing in Accra to announce the seventh Global Conference of the International Association for National Youth Service (IANYS), on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

The conference is dubbed: The Impact of National Youth Service on Recipients in Education, Health, the Youth who Serve the Community, the Community Receiving the Service and the Nation at Large".

It comes off in Accra, next week August 23 to 27, 2004 and would attract more than 100 delegates from the Americas, Latin America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.

Mr Gambilla said the National Service Act does not allow personnel without documentary proof of having completed their courses, to undertake the mandatory one year service.

He said until the HND students wrote their exams, they would not receive their postings scheduled for November.

The polytechnic students are on strike in protest against lack of job placement after the completion of their courses.

Mr Gambila extolled the role of national service persons in national development, especially in the construction of physical structures for social development like schools, health centres, libraries, agriculture and small-scale industries.

In education, for example 70 per cent of National Service Personnel are deployed annually to teach and thereby expand the base of formal education at all levels.

According to Mr Gambila, the Education sector needed about 43,000 teachers annually, from the Basic to the Secondary levels, but there were still 16,000 vacant positions to be filled.

The shortage was more prevalent in the three Northern Regions, he said, and added National Service persons were required to fill the vacancies. Mr Gambila said the mobility of the service personnel, issues of national priority and requests by user agencies influence postings.

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