It's been over three months since I left camp and while I say all the time how fantastic an experience it was, I am not sure if giving the opportunity, I would choose to go through it again.
I've learnt, over the years, that there are mostly two kinds of experiences: Happy and Sad. The Happy experiences can be further divided into two: 1. Enjoyed during, Enjoyed after and 2. Endured during, Enjoyed after. Camp, for me, fell under the category where you Endure during and Enjoy after, mostly because I understood how enjoyable the whole ridiculousness of the place was only after I left there. And I think it works the same way for most people. We can only speak of the Orientation Camp's awesomeness after we get out of there. Trust me, nobody says 'This is the funnest place I've been in my entire life' while still in camp, after camp however, story changes.
Today, I intend to discuss a little further about why I think the NYSC is still essential. This past week, for reasons unknown, a lot of people on Twitter and Facebook and even in real life (colleagues) went on and on and on about NYSC's uselessness. Here, I wrote about it's usefulness but I only wrote of it's immense unification purposes, nothing else and so now I feel it's incomplete.
There are millions of people that become graduates in Nigeria every year. The number is scary. One of the NYSC's purpose is providing a source of living, even just for one year, for these graduates. The monthly allowances paid into their accounts go a very long way. I cannot even imagine what their lives will be like without it, especially considering that without the scheme they'd probably be languishing in educated idleness anyway because it is more difficult to get a job in present Nigeria than for an elephant to walk through the eye of a needle. Yes they are going to be paid for just the one year, but that one year is enough for anyone to get a plan and know what happens next.
Another importance of the NYSC is that most graduates are posted to schools for their primary assignments, these are Nigerian schools and we know what Nigerian schools are like. There, teachers are not teachers, they are just people that read and give notes from textbooks or the internet to students who possibly know more than them. There is no longer a minimum requirement for teachers, in fact, I went to a school sometime ago where I met a teacher who couldn't even construct a simple sentence. It is that bad and a little worse. And we wonder why our students can no longer pass their Cert Exams. Sending graduates to teach in such schools greatly improve the prospects of these students. Yes there are also a few graduates that have difficulties in constructing simple sentences but these are the unserious ones and it's likely that even if they're posted to schools, they'd never show up there.
Another advantage of the Youth Service Scheme is the work experience. Every employer in this century wants to hire an employee with experience, no matter how little and many times, no matter how insignificant. This year gives young people with aspirations of becoming employed by these employers the much needed experience, no matter how insignificant.
Finally, freedom. Now, for me, I see the concept of freedom like putting cheese inside a transparent glass container and allowing a rat try to collect it. It will try desperately no matter how many times it bangs it's head against the glass, it will try to collect the cheese. Freedom, in the real sense of the word, is a height that is never achievable, it's that thing that we look forward to so much, but it never comes. That said, there are several variations to pure freedom and one of those variations is offered to young people during their youth service. Young people experience this variation of freedom and see what life is and what it can be without the monitoring and even prying eyes of their parents. They make their own mistakes and learn to learn from it. This is why I don't understand people who opt to serve in their states of origin.
There are many, many more advantages to the Youth Service Scheme, but I'm too tired to continue, perhaps I'd talk about this again. Thanks for reading.
Till next time,, Keep dreaming!!