Inadequate learning facilities obscure maritime employment potentials
According to a report, students at Munshiganj Institute of Marine Technology have not even visited a ship in their four-year college career, let alone an internship on an ocean-going vessel.
A lack of practical knowledge, an outdated curriculum, inadequate lab facilities coupled with Department of Shipping ocean certification prevent many graduating students from securing jobs in marine engineering and shipbuilding, notes the Tracking and Monitoring Division. implementation evaluation (IMED).
The draft report on five newly established marine institutes in Munshiganj, Faridpur, Chandpur, Sirajganj and Bagerhat was released this week.
The Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) established the Maritime Institutes in 2010-2017 with the aim of creating a skilled workforce for ocean-going vessels and the the country’s nascent shipbuilding industry.
Although the construction of the academies was completed in 2017, students with high school certificates were enrolled in the 2015 academic session.
Some 1,406 students have passed out from the institutes till 2022. According to the IMED report, more than 63% of the graduates got jobs in the country and abroad.
Most graduates who fail to find jobs blame lack of opportunities, lack of jobs and inconsistent study programs, the report notes.
According to the report, many graduates did not join the job market as they opted for higher education, while others turn away from available jobs due to low pay.
Meanwhile, a senior teacher at Faridpur Marine Technology Institute told The Business Standard on condition of anonymity: “The instruments we have are not up to date with the system that modern ships are currently using. Despite a huge demand for marine graduates in South Korea, we recently failed to supply enough graduates.”
Stating that the number of teachers per subject is less than half of the requirement, the teacher said: “There is no jobs crisis in the sector. But some students go abroad for higher education after graduation, while many change sectors.
IMED said that percent employment of graduates can be ensured if curricula are updated according to labor market, oceanic certification is regularized, higher education is introduced in institutes, teachers qualified are appointed and modern laboratories are set up.
Director of the Institute of Marine Technology, Chandpur, Md Sakawat Ali said the institutes come under the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment as the Technical Education Council formulates the program.
The principal said that there are five other marine academies under the Navy Ministry.
“Compared to them, our courses are a bit short. Because of this, our graduates have to go to great lengths to get CDC [Continuous Discharge Certificate – a seafarer’s identity document issued by his country]“, he told The Business Standard.
Md Harunor Rahsid, a naval architect and also director of the Sirajganj Institute of Marine Technology, said the Technical Education Council updates the curriculum every five years.
“I hope that the new curriculum formulated just seven months ago will solve many of the existing learning problems,” he told TBS.
Pointing to the lack of modern labs, however, he said their labs still lacked a radar simulator, engine room simulator or propulsion system simulator.
According to the IMED report, the institutes offer some short courses apart from diplomas.
Courses cover graphic design, welding and fabrications, electrical installation, maintenance, plumbing, assembly and driving.
More than 1.5 lakh students have taken these courses and all of them are now working abroad.