'Why does Mindef discriminate against NSmen who are pursuing full-time studies in other institutions?'
MR SYLVESTER LIM: 'The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) requires operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) to apply online for deferment from reservist training, even if they are attending full-time studies at institutions such as the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM). While NSmen pursuing full-time studies at local polytechnics, Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University are called up only during their holiday period so as not to disrupt their study curriculum, why does Mindef discriminate against NSmen who are pursuing full-time studies in other institutions? Singaporean men have already sacrificed two years of their lives and should not be saddled with this uncertainty, even when they want to pursue further studies.'
Original email to STforum.Dear Sir/Madam,
It is disconcerting to note that MINDEF requires NSmen who have finished their two years service, having to apply for deferment from reservist training even if they are attending full time studies at institutions such as SIM Singapore Institute of Management. While NSmen pursuing full time studies at local polytechnics, NTU, NUS & SMU will be posted into the Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) whereby they will only be called up during their holiday period so as not to disrupt their study curriculum, why does MINDEF discriminates NSmen who are pursuing studies via other venues? What about other institutions such as MDIS, John Cook Universities and other private institutes of higher learning in Singapore? These institutions are already approved by the MOE. Singaporean men have already sacrificed two years of their lives and should not be saddled with this uncertainty even when they want to pursue further studies.
Mr Lim Sylvester
Reply by Mindef
Why these students get common call-up
I REFER to Mr Sylvester Lim's letter, 'Call-up blues' (Sept 14), on the call-up of operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) who are pursuing full-time studies in institutions such as the Singapore Institute of Management.
To maintain the operational readiness of army units, the Singapore Armed Forces requires NSmen from the same unit to attend in-camp training (ICT) together. Hence, it is not possible for the unit to accommodate the different schedules of each of their NSmen when scheduling ICT.
However, the Ministry of Defence understands our NSmen have to balance their work, academic and other commitments with their ICT obligations. Most NSmen studying in the three local universities (National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University) are scheduled for ICT call-ups during their academic vacation period. This arrangement is made possible because these universities have a common vacation period, and the majority of our NSmen study in these institutions.
NSmen pursuing full-time studies in other educational institutions can apply for deferment from their ICT as per the normal deferment process.
Colonel Darius Lim
Director Public Affairs Ministry of Defence