NSmen may get to choose vocation - What vocation would you choose if you have a choice?
What vocation would you choose if you have a choice?
SINGAPORE: The Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS) is looking into giving national servicemen a chance to pick their vocation.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said this on Tuesday, days after his visit to Finland and Switzerland.
He had led a delegate comprising CSNS members last week to the two countries to study their conscription systems.
Dr Ng said both countries are similar to Singapore in terms of population size and the number of men who enlist into NS each year.
The two countries also give servicemen a choice in their vocations to optimise their contributions, and this is something that could be explored in Singapore.
This could mean allowing servicemen some freedom to choose specific units, based on their skills and interests. This would be an expansion of the current system where servicemen are given the chance to express their preference to attend command school or not after their Basic Military Training.
Dr Ng also noted the strong support for national service from employers in Finland and Switzerland, even without incentives.
He said that's because they see the value in the qualities and skills servicemen pick up from their stints.
So apart from better engaging employers in Singapore, there is also the option of certifying skills and values such as leadership. Dr Ng said this could be in the form of a collaboration with the Workforce Development Agency.
Dr Ng also said that women have a role to play in the Singapore Armed Forces, even though the country will not move towards full-time NS for women.
And, he said the current volunteer scheme could be expanded.
The scheme currently allows women, new citizens and first-generation permanent residents to contribute.
But they do not undergo Basic Military Training, and contribute in more skills-related roles such as nurses and radiographers.
NSmen who have completed their reservist cycles can also opt to continue as a volunteer.
Another area that is being looked into is that of facilitating smoother transition between studies before and after National Service. This comes as servicemen enlist at different points based on the different education paths they take and having to wait to enrol in universities after completing their National Service.
The CSNS recommendations are in line with the results of a survey on national service conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies recently.
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