5,000 young Emiratis to form first batch of military service conscripts

During a presentation to address questions on national service, community elders said they were surprised implementation of the initiative would be so swift.

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DUBAI // Community elders were given a presentation on National Service to address questions about the compulsory duty for young Emirati men.

The presentation, at the majlis of Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim in Jumeirah, was given by the UAE National and Reserve Service Authority (NSRA) on Friday.

The presentation touched on the need for National Service, its implementation and the law that governs it.

The first batch of Emiratis to be conscripted are this year’s high-school graduates and those who are 17 years of age and older.

High-school graduates with an academic average below 90 per cent will join the first batch of enlistees if they meet eligibility conditions.

Those who failed their last year of high school may delay their conscription until they have completed final exams in the next academic year.

“We have always served our country and have been ready to sacrifice for it,” said one of the elders at the presentation.

“When it was announced that National Service would be implemented in the UAE we were all very happy.”

However, he said he was surprised that implementation would be so swift, with this year’s high school graduating class being called up.

Staff Col Mohammed Al Mulla of the NSRA said there were 9,766 people eligible to join the first batch of conscripts. Although all of them must register, not all of them would be selected, he said.

The military training centres can accommodate between 5,000 and 7,000 conscripts.

Staff Col Al Mulla said high-school graduates with an academic average above 90 per cent could postpone their national service until they had completed their tertiary education. Those in poor health and only sons could be exempted from serving, leaving about 5,000 young Emiratis to form the first batch of conscripts.

Lt Gen Tamim suggested introducing foundation classes for university education for conscripts to earn academic credits.

The NSRA assured community elders that it would work with the Ministry of Higher Education to address the issues raised by the community and universities about National Service.

“We thank you for all your question and suggestions, and assure you that they will all be taken into consideration,” it said. “This is the first implementation of the law and we know there will be teething problems.”