JIS News

A recent trace study conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has revealed that approximately 60 per cent of youth who participate in programmes that the National Youth Service (NYS) operates either go on to being employed on a full-time basis or pursue higher learning in tertiary institutions.
In an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of NYS, Reverend Adinhair Jones said the NYS was encouraged by the figures from the IDB survey.
He told JIS News, “the national figure for those who transit to tertiary studies now stands at 17 per cent,” and noted how proud he was of the fact that many of the young persons who were affiliated with the NYS exceeded the national average of youth enrollment in tertiary colleges and universities.
The National Youth Service is a youth development agency that was founded in 1973 by the Government of Jamaica and functions primarily as a means of providing career opportunities for youth between the ages of 17 and 24. The specific youth group being targeted by the NYS is comprised of those who have completed high school but wish to access invaluable training or work experience or those who simply want to further their studies.
Reverend Jones said that the NYS was set up to “reach about 140,000 young people throughout Jamaica who are considered to be unattached that is not working, not in school and not going through any particular vocational training.”
According to him, there was an estimated 477,000 young Jamaicans who could be categorized in the 17 to 24 age bracket.
The NYS Executive Director said that among the youth the NYS hopes to attract, “some might not have done well enough at secondary level and need a chance to make good or on the other hand, they might have done reasonably well but also have the need to go through a resocialisation programme as antisocial behaviour in the society is so pervasive that it is affecting a lot of our young people.”
Given the marginalization of young men in the Jamaican society, Reverend Jones said one of the new focus areas of NYS was targeting young males “to engage them (in NYS programmes) to give them structure and a productive life over a period of time.”
Instilling discipline in youth participants is also another objective that the NYS seeks to accomplish through its various programmes. “We have young people coming in who have formed bad habits over the period of their lives such as not getting up on time, reaching late, and no respect for authority,” he said. As such, the NYS runs camps that promote rigorous discipline with soldiers from the Jamaica Defence Force acting as disciplinarians.
“Some of the young people attending our camps have general antisocial tendencies and attitudes and we believe that the kind of behaviour modification that we push in the camps is going to be critical if these young persons are going to be able to make the transition,” Reverend Jones explained.

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