NS goes leaner, smarter

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PETALING JAYA: National Service (NS) trainees will have the opportunity to improve their English language proficiency and computer literacy when the programme resumes next month.

The module, named “Tech + Talk”, has been added to the list of NS courses that 400 trainees will undergo at Princess Haliza Camp in Sepang from Oct 19.

National Service Training De­­partment director-general Datuk Mohmed Asri Yusof said the initiative was a pilot project to equip trainees with better communication and information technology skills.

It will also teach them how to share ideas, to speak up without hesitation, and core values such as unity, courage, commitment, resilience and discipline.

Other new curriculum modules have been prepared for the revamped NS programme, which was put on hold pending the facelift.

These cover unity, volunteerism, patriotism, fitness, personal development, career planning, online safety, among others.

Mohmed Asri said the department would appoint consultants by this week to train the trainers for the “Tech + Talk” module.

He said the module was more for trainees who were unlikely or unable to continue tertiary education.

It would be better for them if they could improve their skills in the English language and information technology, he said.

“The Education Ministry will help identify these trainees to us,” he said.

He said the consultants would work closely with the trainers and trainees “to ensure maximum impact” from the initiative.

Asked about the cost, Mohmed Asri said it used to cost RM9,000 per trainee for three months.

“This time, we will spend around RM5,000 to RM6,000 per trainee for two months,” he said.

It is understood that the trainees will be streamed according to their proficiency levels for “Tech + Talk”.

Those with lower proficiency levels will be taught basic English while advanced language users will be exposed to deeper content, such as developing debating and public-speaking skills.

It will be the same for the technology segment.

Previously, NS trainees had to undergo a three-month course. Under NS 2.0, they need to attend only a two-month course, which includes the integrated learning programme.

Those who are not able to continue their tertiary education have the option to attend a second phase, that will provide hard skills training for a duration of three to 24 months.

During that period, the trainees will be enrolled in vocation schools and will be supervised by the Education Ministry under its Technical, Vocational, Education and Training programme.

Under the revamped NS programme, some 110,000 to 120,000 trainees will be accepted each year. Previously, 80,000 to 90,000 were selected annually. – The Star

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