Our maritime education has shaped up reasonably well. Some colleges have performed well largely because their owners /directors are emphasizing on providing quality training consistent with the job requirements knowing that intake has to be commensurate with job opportunities. They themselves have taken this initiative. However, a vast majority of other DGS approved colleges are struggling to gain respectability. The major cause for slack standards is lack of properly framed rules, the absence of any duly notified rules in regard to intake control, training methodology, imparting required skills, having qualified and experienced faculty.
There are vast majority of others who have taken full advantage of unenforceable rules to circumvent the basic requirements. If the person conducting CIP (comprehensive inspection program), approaches these colleges, he cannot authoritatively inquire about the faculty because the owner is likely to ask him, what rules have I broken? Under what rule do you want faculty? What type of faculty (even by adopting a studied silence on the matter) because he knows how to take advantage of an unspecified provision.
There are no rules prescribing entry standards and this has largely been left to some brokers in some region (you cannot blame them) to feed the intake. Regional imbalance is setting in as a consequence.
Youth from Andaman and Nicobar and the North East are not getting adequate representation due their lack of capacity to pay. On the other hand, many cadets with inferior health but hailing from sound financial background are finding entry. The Directorate General of Shipping has set up BEST but who listens to them as far as selection is concerned.
DGS, the respectable regulatory authority, is only giving permission to start a new college, a new course, increasing intakes but have delegated all other functions to others. A question which arises here is whether such delegations possess any sanctity.
It is better to keep quiet about the IMU. Large number of students used to attend LBS College whose campus was clean adorned with beautiful flowers but now it looks deserted. Senior Capt; Alexander used to reach the hostel at 9 am in the morning and chase every one out to classes or the library.
We should remain present in the college from 8 am to 4 pm. DGS comprises capable and qualified officers, cleared by the UPSC, so they must also pay attention to who is going to conduct the CIP inspection. Is he a regular Surveyor of Classification society or inadequately experienced (sea going) person from an ancillary. Is he capable of taking a comprehensive view with some moral authority? Once in a while, a DGS/MMD Surveyor can come forward and take two others with him and say, come on let us accompany the CIP inspector and assist him to observe the tasks performed by him.
The best of administrators seek assistance from experienced persons in the industry to understand things better and for assimilating various view points. Akbar Badshah hired advisors and gave due consideration to their views, when he was clearly not obliged to do so. Many times you may be required to board a ship or meet an equipment manufacturer for inspection/certification and you may lack a thorough knowledge about it. Therefore, it is desirable to take the advice of experts and then use your own judgment. The oil tanker, gas, chemical courses should not be allowed to be conducted by those not having any stake in the trade. This step will improve quality.