When I enrolled in my current high school, we were given Young Scot cards. I'm unsure as to whether or not this was mandatory as at the time I thought my local council a committee of incompetents, doubted that a discount card from them would be anything but a sponsored discount card, and allowed my parents to sign me up.
The Young Scot card is, like the 'pensioner bus pass', a National Entitlement Card (NEC). And as the Scottish Government has always insisted, it is entirely voluntary - apart that is from the free bus travel entitlement for pensioners and the disabled. See, for example, my Freedom of Information enquiry here
and the statement from the relevant Minister (Tom McCabe) in 2005 that I quote:
"I can confirm that the [NEC] card is voluntary and no-one would be denied access to the services that they are entitled to should they decline the offer of a card.".
Over the last year, I've become progressively more suspicious of the British and Scottish govts on a level that I had previously reserved for communist states, some corporations, and America. I've been able to locate information regarding what is stored on temporary cards, but what is stored on a permanent (expires in twelve years) card?
I have no information about what precisely is stored on an NEC card. However, as usual, the key concern is what lies beyond the card and is stored in linked state databases, rather than just the piece of plastic itself.
Crucially, when you obtain an NEC card you are given a unique national identifier, the Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN). This is the basic building block for a National Identity Register - precisely the kind of database that the Westminster government has urgently been demolishing during the past week. See:http://www.guardian.co.uk/government-computing-network/2011/feb/10/minister-destroys-national-identity-register
I have always refused to accept an NEC card precisely to avoid going onto a Scottish NIR. I provide more details here