On Feb. 27, Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How announced three new initiatives for the National Service (NS) system, during the Committee of Supply debate on the Ministry of Defence (Mindef).
The update on the new and upcoming NS initiatives comes after the National Service Review Committee (NSRC) concluded its review in 2022.
These are the three new initiatives:
- Relaxation in exit permit requirement for NSmen
- New NS social and recreation hub
- New Work-Learn Scheme (WLS)
Relaxed exit permit requirements
In an effort to improve NS processes further, Mindef has reviewed exit controls for NSmen and concluded that they can be further relaxed.
From April 2023 onwards, NSmen will only need to apply for an exit permit when they leave Singapore for 12 months or more.
This is up from the current six months or more.
He said: “This change reflects the growing mobility of Singaporeans, with many of our NSmen staying or working overseas for longer duration.”
Heng also assured members of the public that the ministry has studied this change “very carefully” and that it would not affect SAF’s operational readiness.
Social and recreational hub
In appreciation of the contributions of the NSmen, the National Service Resort and Country Club (NSRCC) will be building a social and recreational hub.
Heng added that the hub will come with chalets, sports facilities, and other family-centric amenities.
More details will be announced in due course.
“We hope that this effort to build [the hub] and enhance our services to NSmen will cater even better to the leisure needs of a younger generation of NSmen,” added Heng.
WLS for NSFs
“Two months ago”, according to Heng, a new scheme was introduced to allow selected full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) to pursue a part-time diploma in Engineering (Mechanical Technology) from Singapore Polytechnic. They will be deployed as naval warfare system specialists.
This will happen through the latest WLS for Naval Warfare System Specialists (Marine Systems/ Electrical and Control Systems).
Heng mentioned in his speech that 450 NSFs have enrolled in all the WLSes thus far, with 500 annual enrolments expected from 2025.
Top images via Mindef’s Facebook page