6 countries where national service is compulsory

National Service is however not exclusive to Ghana as many other countries require their citizens to serve the land.

The failure to do national service by two of Ghana’s ministers has stirred a conversation in the country about the importance of this activity.

It emerged during the vetting of Otiko Afisa Djaba (Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection) and Catherine Afeku (Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts), that the pair did not do national service.

In Ghana, national service is mandatory for one year all graduates of tertiary institutions in the country. Unlike other countries, service is not limited to the army, but in public and private organisations.


All Israeli citizens aged 18 and above are mandated to undertake national service in the form of conscription into the army. The mainly high school leavers serve usually for two year and eight months for men and two years for women. Sometimes, an additional four months is required to complete service. However, Arab citizens are exempt as well as those with mental or physical disabilities.

South Korea

Just like Israel, South Korea has war simmering in the land because of fractious relations with neighbouring countries. In Korea, service in the army is compulsory for males aged 18 to 35. The time frame differs depending on the branch of the army you serve in. For the army and marines, it is 21 months while the Navy and Air Force requires 23 and 24 months respectively. Those with mental and physical disabilities are exempted.


Aside being part of the Commonwealth, one other thing Ghana and Singapore have in common is national service. All male citizens and second generation residents of the city-state aged 18 are required to serve in either the Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force or Singapore Civil Defence Force. One of the aims of national service in Singapore is to promote harmony between the various racial groups in the country.


While Ghana has the National Service Secretariat, the Nigeria Youth Service Corps is responsible for overseeing national service in Nigeria. National Service was established in Ghana and Nigeria in 1973 and there are many similarities between that systems in both countries. ‘Corpers’ in Nigeria are also tertiary graduates and it is not military conscription but in public institutions and lasts a year.


The small European country has mandatory national service for all able-bodied males aged 18. A 2013 referendum in the country about the abolishment of national service failed overwhelmingly with over 70 percent of people voting in favour to keep conscription into the army. National service is voluntary for women.


Military service is compulsory for all males in Turkey aged 20 and 41 and serve usually for 12 months. However, men aged 27 and above who want to be exempted from national service would have cough up at around 9,000 dollars in order or them to be exempted.


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