The universal national service evaluated by its troops


It was good … Especially with the friends! This is a summary of the first assessment of the universal national service, created last June by the government to fill the void left by the military service. Who says it? The approximately 2,000 16-year-old volunteers, who have experienced two weeks of "cohesive stay" this summer, are preparing to carry out on Monday the second part of their commitment, the "mission of interest general ".

The National Institute of Youth and Popular Education (Injep), commissioned by the government to evaluate the system, conducted 400 interviews with volunteers and their supervisors in the 14 centers of the United Nations. The first elements of this investigation, whose publication is expected on November 10, already show "a series of points of attention," reveals the director of Injep, Thibaut de Saint Pol.

The first of them? The SNU remains an unidentified civic object, which struggles to clearly display its objectives. "The major challenge of the coming years will be to establish what are its priority objectives," the sociologist analyzes. Admittedly, 94% of the employees left "satisfied" with their two weeks in uniform. Only seven recruits preferred to leave before the end, and five were excluded after a disciplinary council.

The universal national service evaluated by its troops

But the volunteers are also very numerous, in the interviews (69%), to point out schedules too dense, where are piled up bundles of modules with disparate contents, without link between them.

"I mostly met great people"

A finding that will give grit to the opponents of the SNU, who see in the device "a discovery of commitment, an extension of the school, but not a worthwhile experience for the future", tackles Marie Trellu-Kane, president of the United Cities civic service association.

Nicolas, a 17-year-old Lille high school student, did his SNU in Val-d'Oise in June. There he listened to presentations on veterans, sustainable development, the importance of securing his computer against cyberattacks … But, like 94% of other UNS workers, it is sports and cohesion activities, as well as initiations. practices in defense and security, which interested him the most.

The universal national service evaluated by its troops

"I especially met great people, with whom I felt happy," he says, still amazed at having, for the first time in his life, seen teens from other regions and others environments. Maryvonne, her mother, says she has found her boy "changed" after the stay, "more relaxed, less aggressive. "He has gained self-confidence," she adds.

Nearly one-third of volunteers have a military parent

"What pleased young people is to be considered as adults, says Thibaut de Saint Pol. The times of democracy planned for the evening, with debates in which they were given the floor, were for example acclaimed. Even if they were numerous to fall in apples, during the commemorations of a hot June 18th, more than eight out of ten affirm to have lived well "the rules of life and the discipline in force".

A figure to qualify, however, given the profile of these pioneers. Nearly one-third (31%) have a military parent, or ex-military. A proportion incommensurable with the national average (1.3%), and which explains the strong adherence of the troops to the uniform, the raising of the colors at the dawn, the displacements with the not clocked pace …

Not sure that these rituals are so well accepted when the SNU will address a whole generation. "It will take, for this to work, particularly well trained and qualified supervisors," anticipates Thibaut de Saint Pol.

The disturbing health check of 16-year-olds Another worrying "point of vigilance" was highlighted by the qualitative assessment of the National Universal Service: the health examinations, conducted among the 2,000 volunteers, showed that many 16-year-olds live with physical or mental health problems. psychological disorders never detected before, especially among the most distant from the school system.

"In these interviews, young people dared to address intimate issues, including sexuality or drug use," said UN Secretary of State Gabriel Attal. It has been realized that the expatriation of young people is a very powerful factor of speech release. "

Injep, in its recommendations, should insist on the need to generalize these health tests for adolescents, within the framework of the UN.

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