India’s Director General of Shipping, Malini V. Shankar, is pressing for significant changes to be made to the country’s maritime training sector to ensure that cadets have a good chance of securing employment. At present, it is alleged, the quality of training received is often not up to the required standard, leaving many graduates of maritime training institutes unemployed at the end of their studies.
According to the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), in 2016-17 half of the 15,500 available BE/B-Tech places available were vacant due to the poor record of employability of many private colleges. If no action is taken India risks being further overtaken as a source of maritime labour at a time of growing global skills shortage.
The Director General suggested there is a need to improve the examination system through online assessments, and having improved exit checks to stop corrupt practices, such as the awarding of certificates to students who have not attended the required classes.
Speaking to a special conference held in Mumbai in December on maritime training and education, she said: “I’m not here to close down training institutes or control them. But think of the many mothers and fathers who had to spend their entire life-time earnings to send their sons for maritime training. It’s only fair to expect the training institutes to return the favour in full and not short change them.”
India has more than 130 maritime training institutes and the Directorate General of Shipping has introduced a comprehensive inspection programme (CIP) to grade them based on various parameters, including how successful they are in securing employment placements. Consequently any candidate who wants to pursue a career at sea can now go to the DGS website to find out which institutions have the best placement rate record.
Some other suggestions now being considered by DGS include making a biometric attendance system compulsory for facility and students; the video recording of practical training elements, such as lifeboat and fire drills; and centralised exit examinations for modular courses.