mardi 27 janvier 2015

Do the French go for youth service ?

While Nigerian youths undergo mandatory civil service, French youths used to go for compulsory military service.

In Nigeria, graduates of universities and polytechnics go for a compulsory national youth service, a scheme set up in 1973 by the Nigerian government to involve the country's graduates in the development of the country.
According to the website of the Nigerian National Youth Service Corps, the NYSC scheme was created in a bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country after the Nigerian Civil war.

Its purpose is to inculcate in Nigerian youths the spirit of selfless service to the community, and to emphasize the spirit of oneness and brotherhood of all Nigerians, irrespective of cultural or social background.
At the end of university and polytechnic education, graduates known as "corpers" are posted to a State far from their State of origin for a period of one year which is known as "national service year".

The first three weeks of the program is spent in an orientation camp after which the corp members are sent to a Local Government Area in the State where a primary assignment follows.

A "passing out ceremony" holds at the end of the Service year where participants are issued a passing out" certificates.
In France, there used to be a compulsory Military Service but it applied to men only and lasted ten months. This service was phased out in 1996/2001.

France was the first modern nation state to introduce Universal Military Conscription as a condition of citizenship. This was institutionalized by Napoléon Bonaparte in order to provide manpower for the country's military at the time of the French Revolution.

The 1798 Jourdan Act stated :
"Any Frenchman is a soldier and owes himself to the defense of the nation".
During the Cold War and into the 1990s, compulsory Military Service existed in nearly every European country.
Les conscrits (bidasses) 1990
The National Service was introduced in France in 1905 when conscripts had to serve two years in the armed forces.

In World War I, a full-time military service was introduced which lasted three years, for men over the age of 19. Conscription was also imposed on Algerians at this period, as they were required to offer volunteers for the French Army.

In 1928 it was reduced to 1 year and again increased to 2 years in 1935. When France finally disengaged from colonial commitments, military service was again reduced to 18 months in 1962, then 12 months in 1970 and finally 10 months in 1992.

Some French people thought the National Service was a waste of time and that France could make heavy cut-backs if it was cancelled.

It was then suspended in 1996 during Jacques Chirac's government then later finally scrapped in 2001. 
Les conscrits (bidasses) 1999
Since 2001, all French citizens of 17 and 18 years are obliged to report for a “Defence and Citizenship Day” in French "la Journée Défense et Citoyenneté"), where they are informed about their rights and responsibilities as citizens and also to help them understand the way the country's institutions functions.

Today, many European countries have also done away with compulsory military service.

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