Sunday, December 18, 2011

What is NYSC?

NYSC, commonly called 'Youth Service,' stands for National Youth Service Corps.

The official NYSC website can be found here:

Let's start from the beginning... Between 1967 and 1970, there was a civil war in Nigeria, also known as the Biafran War. The south-easterners of Nigeria attempted to create a new nation, Biafra, due to economic, religious, and ethnic tensions. Nigeria won the war, and in 1973, created the National Youth Service Corps as a way to foster unity and appreciation of diversity among the youth of the nation. Click here for a more comprehensive look at the history of NYSC.

The basic premise was/is to send university graduates to different parts of the country (from their ethnic origins) for a period of one year. During the service year, graduates are expected to mix with people of other ethnic groups, gain one-year work experience, and engage in service to help develop their host communities.

NYSC Vision:
To develop a scheme that is dynamic enough to meet new challenges and become the leading light of youth organizations in Africa.

NYSC Mission:
To mobilize and groom graduate youths for the promotion of National Unity, Sustainable Development, Self-Reliance and prepare them for the challenges of leadership.

NYSC Service Year Components:
During the one-year service period, the program consists of 4 parts.

  1. Mobilization/Orientation - This part of the program refers to the 1-2 month registration period; posting; as well as the three-week orientation in whatever NYSC Camp you have been posted to.
  2. Primary Assignment - The primary assignment begins as soon as you leave the NYSC Camp. All corpers are expected to report at their place of primary assignment (PPA) as soon as they receive their posting letters. It lasts for a period of about 11 months.
  3. Community Development Service - This part is done in conjunction with the primary assignment. Commonly abbreviated, the CDs, are generally by choice (unless you're a doctor or lawyer) and serves as your part in helping to develop your host community. It can range from mentoring programs, health advocacy, to sports, performing arts and much more. Each CD meets once a week, during the week, which means corpers have a 4-day work week and a day off to attend your CD group.
  4. Passing Out - During the final week of the service year, corpers are brought together to evaluate their year of service. There's one last parade, during which corpers who have completed the requirements are given their certificates.
Click here to see an in-depth description of the service year.

Common Misconceptions about NYSC
  1. You are exempt once you turn 30. This is a MYTH! The fact is that you are exempt from NYSC IF you receive your FIRST degree AFTER you turn 30. So those of you who want to bypass NYSC and hold out till you turn 30, might as well wait until then to graduate with your bachelor's degree.
  2. Foreign-trained graduates can choose where they serve. This one is HALF TRUE - HALF FALSE. Up until this year, it was common knowledge that international students could pick between Abuja and Lagos for their NYSC postings. However, when you go to Abuja for your registration, one of the first signs you see says "Foreign-trained graduates do not have the right to choose where they serve." Being Nigeria though, there are ways around this sort of thing. 
  3. Orientation Camp is simply military drills, marching, and man 'o war activities. These are components of camp, yes. But there are a gazillion mandatory lectures as well - 98% of which are boring beyond belief! In addition, there are social activities, such as dramas, dances, pageants, bonfire night, etc. 

I think I've covered the basics of NYSC so far. I will touch more on each part of the program in further postings, but I just wanted to give you a snap shot of NYSC. 

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