Will military service work well for development?

There is a sense of desolation and hopelessness among the growing number of graduates and even school drop outs. Two years of military training will boost their confidence, keep them out of mischief and prepare them better for their future. It will also equip them with specialised skills to help them find jobs at places that rejected them before they joined the army.
It will also have a positive effect on school goers knowing that if they drop out then they will have to join the army for two long years.
This arrangement will see a steep rise in the passing rate of students in the basic education besides help curb drug addiction. It will provide unique insight into the benefits and challenges of the required military service for the young men and women.
For students who passed their secondary education and are headed for work may do nine months, those studying for their degrees or working after graduating just five months. By lowering the serving time for different level of education will encourage young people to do better academically.
However, the government must also think whether to make it compulsory for women or enrol only men. If it is not mandatory for women, then they will have a head start in the job market while men would still be serving in the army.
Oman by far has the biggest youth population than any other Gulf country. If it follows the age between 18 years to 35 years age band for young people to be militarised, then Oman would send more than 45 per cent of its population to the barracks.
On the other hand, the age strata of 18 to 30 years would mean more than a third of Omanis would be heading to the military camps. By a rough estimate, between 600,000 to 800,000 young Omanis would need to be enlisted.
The downside is that, if one would use the above population’s account as an indication, Oman would need to dig very deep in its financial coffers to come out with the expenses of militarising its young people.
Oman will not know, if it decides to go ahead with the military service, how much it would cost in the long run but the question of affordability would stick up like a sore thumb in the already severely stretched financial situation.

Positive impact
On the positive side, if Oman could come up with the extra costs should the country decide to send its youngsters to the army, the military exercise would toughen up the normally pampered and sheltered youth. It will also teach some discipline to those young people who are terrorising the roads with their dangerous driving and tame the rough behaviour of the rest.
It may even cut down the number of drug users and peddlers among the nationals, whose numbers have sharply increased in the last decade. But before the government sends these youth to army bases, it must decide on the age group, the length of the service and the educational background.
Moreover, young people after the age of 25 years want to concentrate on their careers or higher studies and not disrupt these with military exercises.
As for educational background, it must be linked with the number of times a young person needs to serve in the military. Those who dropped out from schools must serve much longer than those who have completed their secondary education.
But the benefits will be better understood in the youth moral build up for their confidence.
It will undoubtedly also benefit the private sector when they employ them after their military service. It will instil discipline and organisation in them that is currently lacking in most of the graduates looking for jobs.


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