By Moses Walubiri
KAMPALA – The National Planning Authority (NPA) wants compulsory national service for all Senior Six leavers to be an integral component of Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDP) II.
Under this arrangement, Senior Six (or Form Six) leavers will spend nine months of vacation in military training, before spending another 12 months getting practical skills in a range of disciplines.
“National service will be a massive program to overhaul our civil service through inculcating national values, practical skills and patriotism to young people,” the head of monitoring and evaluation at NPA, Moses Dhizaala, said Friday during a retreat of senior government technocrats.
“It will also mean that the country can have a small full-time national army with majority being members in the reserve force.”
Skills like plumbing, carpentry, bricklaying and vehicle mechanics will be imparted from what Dhizaala described as national service centres of excellence.
The two-day retreat opened by the Minister of Security, Muruli Mukasa (pictured below) and graced by technocrats from Parliament, government ministries and departments is aimed at drafting implementation strategies for the NDP II.
Skip two years before uni
Countries like Israel, Eritrea and China have compulsory national service programs for their young people before joining universities, while Norway makes it mandatory for any male above 18 to undergo military training.
The national service program will also be in sync with the Government’s strategy on higher education, whose emphasis is on practical skills as part of a multi-pronged plan to stem spiraling unemployment among youths.
If the proposal on national service gets cabinet approval, any Ugandan sitting Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) exams will skip two years before joining university.
The NDP I will end in June, with the NDP II expected to span the period between 2015 and 2020 as part of Vision 2040 that is aimed at transforming the country into a middle-income economy.