PERCEPTION OF NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORP MEMBERS ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SERVICE
1.1 Background to the Study
The national youth service corps was set up by decree 24 in May, 1973 and modified by decree 51 of June 1993 to inculcate in Nigerian youths a spirit of selfless service to the community and to promote a spirit of oneness and unity in a nation of diverse cultures, economic and social background., it was one of the tools by which Nigeria hoped to achieve some of her post civil war objectives of a united , strong and self-reliant nation, a dynamic economy a land full of opportunities for all citizens and a free and democratic economy.
Nigeria is a country whose colonial history and experience in the immediate post independence era were characterized by ethnic loyalties, mutual group suspicion and distrust that culminated in the traumatic events of a bloody civil war which called for the emergence of National Youth Service (Gowon, 1973) Faced with the total breakdown of harmony and mutual trust as a result of thirty months of civil war of no victor no vanquish, it was necessary for solid peace to be won. With the immediate post war period, the challenge was on how to engage in deliberate social engineering, designing programmes and pursuing policies meant to promote national unity de-emphasizing points of discord among the constituent groups and foster inter-ethnic understanding and harmony. Umoden (1993), Obasa (1995) confirmed that there was need for educated Nigerians from all works of life to come together for deliberation recognizing the host of problems begging for solution. Vice chancellors, presidents of universities and other policy makers deliberated on the issue. After myriad of suggestions by policy makers, the federal government decided and agreed a one year mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for all Nigerian graduates. Who either passed through the university, polytechnics or other awarding institutions in Nigeria. The scheme was established in Nigeria on 22nd May, 1973 during the regime of former military Head of State General Yakubu Gowon.
The National Youth Service Corps was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild Nigeria in unity. There are two batches every year, batch ‘A’ begins February/March and ends in January/February the following year while batch ‘B’ begins in September and ends in August the following year. The primary purpose of the scheme is to inculcate in Nigeria Youth the spirit of selfless service, patriotism and brotherhood of all Nigeria irrespective of cultural or social background (NYSC, 1992).
Also the primary assignment of corpers involved in the NYSC Scheme is to serve in whatever capacity they have professional training in. They are involved in teaching, administration, industry and so on. Apart from this there is a secondary assignment known specifically as community development service (CDS). Corps are expected to contribute to the communities where they are serving.
Objectives of the Scheme
As clearly spelt out in Decree 51 of 6th June, 1993, the objectives include; the following:
1. To inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them the tradition of industry at work and patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in a situation they may find themselves.
2. To raise the moral tone of the Nigerian youths by giving them the opportunity to learn about higher idea of national achievement, social and cultural improvement.
3. To enable Nigerian youth acquire spirit of self-reliance by encouraging them to develop skills for self employment.
4. To contribute to the accelerated growth of the national economy.
5. To develop common ties among the Nigerian youths and promote national unity and integration in a study of youth corpers attitude towards community service carried out by Adedeji (1975) in Ilorin. Akintunde, O. (1978) in Ibadan and Bayo Lawal (1988) in former Gongola State, it was discovered that most corpers to be indifferent towards some areas in community service such as agriculture and technological sectors.
Meanwhile, community service is geared at:- eradicating ecological challenges; skill development and development of positive attitude. Community service which requires self sacrifice in loyalty and total devotion to the state and nieighbourhood does not seem to have been fully embraced by youth corpers in Nigeria irrespective of its value to the society due to diversity of culture and religious difference. Babangida (1993). Other factors that seem to be militating against the full realization of the value of community service include:- lack of common interest, unpatriotic attitude, low remuneration, gender, area of specialization, socio-economic background, and religious difference. (Obasa, 1995).
1.2 Statement of Problem
The NYSC could be the highest single assembly of vibrant knowledgeable citizens of Nigeria that could provide community service which will enhance the living standard of the communities where they serve. It is observable however that some corpers seem to see the NYSC scheme as enormous, deceptive and long year of wastage. Such apprehension coupled with inconsistency and instability that have characterized the operation of NYSC are likely to affect the disposition of corpers to the scheme, thereby making corpers feel indifferent towards the value of community service in Nigeria. It is this regard that this study is being carried out to address the question of the corpers and their perception on the community service in Nigeria.
The following research questions were raised to guide the study;
1. Is socio-cultural diversity a factor affecting corpers perception of community service?
2. Are corpers perception on community service in Nigeria based on gender?
3. Are corpers perceptions towards community service due to their socio-economic background?
4. Are corpers perceptions on community service in Nigeria based on religion differences?
5. Does subject of study in the university influence corpers perception on community development?
The benefit that could be derived from the outcome of this investigation are as follows:
The study intends to contribute to the understanding of the value of community service in Nigeria with specific cognizance of NYSC scheme. Also Nigerian youth corpers will develop a positive mindset towards community service and always be at the vanguard of the scheme because of its contribution in fostering national unity and enhancing development in the communities at all levels.
Thirdly, it will promote a general understanding of community service education and help the Nigerian youth to appreciate the values of community service and make themselves available for the service at any given time without any remuneration.
Fourthly, government being the policy makers can be better informed as to what policy modification is needed to enhance community service through national Youth Service.
The fifth point is, the NYSC operators who are the implementers of government policy can within the limit of their operations, better the effectiveness of the scheme.
Lastly, the investigation intends to make the findings and recommendations, a good starting point for other investigators in related field in the near future.
1.6 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
This study is delimited to corpers currently in Edo South Senatorial District in the year 2014. This study will be carried out on the youth corpers in some selected local government in Edo South Senatorial District. The selected local government includes:-
1.7 Definition of Terms
For the avoidance of ambiguity in the interpretation of words and expressions used in this project, the researcher hereby defines or explains some terms within context of this research work.
Community Service: Community development service is another aspect of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme. It comprises welfare services and projects by corps members aimed at improving the lots of their host community. The idea is to afford corps members the opportunity for greater communal involvement and interaction through working with the local community towards self-reliant projects.
National Youth Service: It is a conception which is transformative in nature. It seeks to contribute to the transformation and development programmes which involve young graduate in service delivery and learning.
Perception: Student or undergraduate or young graduates belief their opinion on the value of community service in Nigeria.
National Youth Service Programme: It is one of many programmes operating within the framework established by the national Youth Service.
This research project is organised in five chapters. The first chapter presents the Background of the Study, the Assumptions of the Study, Definition of Significant Terms, Limitation of the Study, Purpose of the Study, Research Questions, Scope of the Study, Significance of the Study, Specific Objectives and Statement of the problem. Chapter two outlines Review of Literature and covers Community Development services, Availability of Resources and Performance of Community Development services, Community Participation and Performance of Community Development services, Governing Policies and Performance of Community Development services, The Planning Process of Management and Performance of Community Development services, Conceptual Framework, Theoretical Framework. Chapter three details the Research Method ology which entail, Research Design, Target Population and Sample Frame, Sample Size and Sampling Procedure, Research Instruments, Validity and Reliability of the Research Instrument, Data Collection Procedure, Data Analysis and techniques and Ethical Considerations of the Study. Chapter four outlines data presentation analysis and interpretations. Chapter five comprises of summary, conclusions, recommendations and suggestions.
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