Priority for university, monetary incentives for those serving NS: students
- POSTED: 29 Sep 2013 01:43
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Priority for university places, and a fortnightly allowance -- these are some incentives mooted by students during a discussion on giving better recognition to those contributing to National Service.
SINGAPORE: Priority for university places, and a fortnightly allowance -- these are some incentives mooted by students during a discussion on giving better recognition to those contributing to National Service.
As part of a year-long exercise on how to strengthen the support and commitment for NS, 70 students weighed in on the conversation about National Service. They discussed how full-time and operationally-ready National Servicemen can be better appreciated.
Some said university places are limited and wanted a better chance to get in.
One of the participants, Yuskhaire Mohd Zain, said: "For the guys, they are serving their nation (for) two years, so they are two years behind. By giving them priority, it will motivate them to go and further their studies. When you give them the priority, it makes them think we are not left behind."
Others suggested the NS allowance be given twice a month.
Another participant, Naufal Rahman, said: "My group suggested a fortnightly allowance, for example in my case, I'll be serving NS next year. So we actually look forward to earning money... By giving the money fortnightly instead of monthly, the NSF can look forward to go to NS because they know at the end of the week, they will be getting money."
Over the years, the government has rolled out various monetary incentives in an effort to show recognition.
For example this year, NSmen were given up to S$100 in vouchers.
Associate Professor Paulin Straughan, a work group member of the Committee to Strengthen National Service, said: "This is the way we have framed their outlook growing up in Singapore. For lack of better options, money speaks louder than anything else.
"So, given that this is the kind of mindset constraints that we observe, we need to work harder towards a broader platform of recognition, and try to raise to a higher level important considerations, like prestige general appreciation without the dollar tag."
Students also believe non-monetary incentives are important.
One of the participants, Goh Si Xuan, said: "We feel that by educating the young, you change their mindsets from young... Maybe a syllabus, not so structured, a softer approach to make them change their mindset, about NS, about serving the country.
"Maybe from young, they will already have this mindset that NS is something I should look forward to, I feel obliged to do -- not something that is a burden."
The Committee to Strengthen National Service is expected to take into account suggestions from these focus-group discussions and issue a report to the government in 2014.