As part of the Tunisian Government’s response to the employment crisis which has lingered for years and exploded into nationwide protests in January the Ministry of Defense announced it would use national service to join the professional national army, as part of a program slated to begin before the end of the month.
Minister of Defense, Farhat Horchani, announced Saturday that the Tunisian National Army would ‘integrate’ thousands of unemployed youths and unemployed university graduates in phases and upon completion of a program of national service.
Horchani added “This initiative, first of its kind, is part of the development projects undertaken by the department to support national efforts in the fight against unemployment.”
On Thursday January 27, Prime Minister Habib Essid proposed several urgent measures aimed at employment in response to wave of employment protests that have spread across Tunisia in the second half of January, including increasing annual enlistment in the Tunisian National Army from 5,000 to 30,000.
The national service precondition, allows the Army to maintain a selection process in accordance with its needs and budget. Rather than a massive recruiting drive, the program as Horchani pointed out “will allow young people according to specific criteria to perform national service before joining the national army.”
Beginning February 15, a campaign will be conducted “especially in the interior regions and remote areas” to provide young people with more information on this project.
Defense Minister Horchani, made the statements during a visit to the military buffer zone along the Tunisian-Libyan border. Where Defense Minister Horchani observed training exercises and announced the completion of a 250 km security barrier on Tunisia’s border with Libya.