The National Service Scheme (NSS) will post 230 service personnel to serve as research assistants to Members of Parliament (MPs) during this year's national service postings, Mr. Vincent Senam Kuagbenu, Executive Director of the NSS has said. The 230 research assistants will benefit from training in computer skills at the Kofi Annan ICT Center, as well as, research methodology at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) before they assume their posts.
Mr. Senam Kuagbenu said it is the hope of the NSS that the postings will enhance the quality of work of the legislature. He spoke at the launch of the National Service Week celebration in Tamale recently.
MPs have never hidden their desire to have research assistants. It is public knowledge that the effectiveness of MPs is hampered by lack of research assistants, besides inadequate office space and logistics. The non-availability of research assistants to the MPs, for instance, affects the work of the various committees. In some instances, committees are unable to fully scrutinize equity and geographic spread of projects, time schedules for implementing projects, beneficiary communities and institutions.
The Executive Director said the scheme posts between 60 and 70 percent of service personnel to the education sector annually to complement the efforts of the Ghana Education Service (GES) in providing quality teaching in rural and deprived schools. It follows that many of the personnel are found in classrooms in areas where permanent professional teachers are not available.
He pointed out, "Most of our schools in the rural areas rest on the broad shoulders of our gallant National Service Volunteers and National Service Personnel" and spoke of how some of the personnel were made senior house masters and mistresses in senior high schools where they served.
Mr. Nii Ayitey, President, Northern Regional National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) said the NSS has contributed significantly in providing human resource as stop-gap measure to the shortage of manpower and skill.
On behalf of the Association, he expressed appreciation for the regular and consistent payment of allowances. However, he was of the opinion that allowances could be paid earlier just as is done for some public sector workers who receive their salaries in the third week of the month. In addition, "We also suggest an additional 'motivation package' for those of us who are willing to accept postings to the north."
On the other hand, he urged service personnel not to misconstrue the purpose and relevance of the scheme, noting that the scheme is aimed at bringing people together to share skills.
Mr. Ayitey observed that many developing countries have succeeded in training larger numbers of professionals but there are still shortages of skilled labour in areas where they are most needed.
Mr. Silas Natoma, Northern Regional Director of the NSS, on his part said the policy of the scheme is to ensure that a greater percentage of personnel and volunteers are deployed to hinterlands where their services are most valuable to the country.
"I therefore wish to appeal to personnel and volunteers as well as opinion leaders, to co-operate with the scheme so that this policy is realized," he said.
He thanked service and volunteer service personnel for there support and dedication to duty, hard work and selflessness. He however, admitted that his office have had reports of a few cases of indiscipline including poor attendance, absenteeism and sometimes vacation of post.
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