Photo of Ong Ye Kung from The Straits Times

Full-time national service conscripts (NSFs) will be given useless certificates from the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ), that accredit “skills” like “leadership”, “teamwork” and “effective communication”. More than 96% of the NSFs will get the WSQ certificates which are however not recognized by universities or employers.

Only NSFs who complete the 3 month Basic Military Training (BMT) will qualify for the useless certificates. Second Defense Minister Ong Ye Kung made the announcement yesterday (Mar 3) claiming that these certifications will “enhance the NS experience”:

“While accrediting the skills learnt in NS can help improve the NS experience, it was “neither the main objective nor the key takeaway of NS. NS fulfils the obligation and accords the honour of contributing to the defence of our country. The lasting benefits are the development of character and resilience, and the camaraderie and friendships forged with fellow NSmen.”

Minister Ong Ye Kung also commented that the recent option that allow recruits to indicate their “interest” from 33 NS vocations did not see underwhelming responses for combat vocations. The second Defence Minister said that tough vocations are “good”:

“It is not true enlistees would avoid vocations deemed intense or “siong” such as Infantry and Guards, opting instead for non-combat vocations related to their studies. The latest SAF enlistment exercise showed 60 per cent of pre-enlistees had indicated an interest in Infantry and Guards. They know that the training is ‘siong’ (tough) but good for them.”

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