The esteemed institution of Marine Mercantile Department under Directorate General of Shipping in India has been conducting Certificate of Competency exams in India for decades and constituting directives for training to Maritime Institutes and Academies. It is also the principle functioning body to carry out various other official government maritime activities across India and has successfully devised, organized and facilitated for all the respective departments satisfactorily.
However, there are still areas and aspects to certain paradigms in the conduct of Certificate of Competency exams for Deck and Engine alike that postulates some serious interventions, imperatives and modifications pertaining to the recent times. Well, the argument and demand for a major transformation in the examination system has been forgoing forever, but unfortunately any optimistic change is yet to come out of it. While, given the prevailing scenario of Covid-19 pandemic it becomes utmost essential to expedite a safe and conducive reformation at the earliest.
Since I belong to the deck department, as of now, I shall mainly concentrate on the evaluation, content of the syllabus, study material, guidelines from global maritime studies and eventually the procedure and protocol of examinations relating to the deck.
Reformation of Training & COC examinations in India
A few brief propositions and measures that could optimize all the concerned parties, The DG shipping, the maritime institute and the candidates as well:
- A complete transparent portal and mode of efficient online examination system for all the subjects with the introduction of objective Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQ) compared to the present subjective test.
- A forum for grievances and feedback from the examinee regarding the entire process of examination.
- Thorough revision, improvisation of syllabus and acquiring new paraphernalia bearing in mind the international and contemporary maritime elements, regulations, directives and amendments.
- The shared onus of establishing and implementing pragmatic study materials for education and an eradication of all the unnecessary outdated content efficaciously by the DG shipping, The institutes and not just the candidates.
- Taking cues, addressing the criterion, directives and reflecting upon the international standard of examination from other nations as well and adopting an inspiring, ingenious, indigenous and innovative model for all.
- An advanced learning, teaching, coaching and examination system that will provide an access of convenience for the teachers, faculties in general, examiners and examinee simultaneously.
- Introduction, promotion and acceptance of CBT (computer-based training) learning and evaluation vivaciously for all subjects as it is already being widely practiced by numerous shipping companies as part of their in-house training system. For instance, Cargo Planning and Stability Calculations on designated Loadicator programs which are commonly used aboard. Chart work assessment should be done totally on ECDIS complementing and comprehending all the tools and features rather than on paper charts because practically Deck Officers onboard need to be extremely well abreast with ECDIS skills as it is the future of safe and commercial navigation in the maritime industry. Weather and piracy monitoring software programs too. Basically, emphasizing more on the technology-oriented learning and evaluation of the daily operations at sea and in port rather than theoretical textbooks. Making the optimum use of the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities provided on the ship for both the Masters & officers unified.
- Aside from the STCW course practical training and tests, wherever it is feasible this will also aid in minimizing the costs incurred for the infrastructure required to accommodate students in classrooms and examination halls, without affecting the generation of revenues ,in turn will be saving enormous funds for DG shipping which could be further utilized to enhance other areas of development.
- A collective outlook collaborating with the esteemed principles, students in general and dignified authorities is called for. An approach which escalates the maritime education in India to the highest level at par with the International
- Building a new perspective and vantage point for Shipping, Logistics and Maritime Industry in India.
Recapitulating the aforementioned, the idea behind the proposal is to not waste time anymore in dealing with the current crisis and with immediate effect bring about these drastic reinforcements and improvements to assist the respective faculties & candidates alike in availing and gaining the high-grade, world class maritime knowledge at their fingertips. During these unprecedented times, various academic establishments, foundations, universities and colleges across the world have already adapted to this form of imparting education.
As the adage goes by, “Desperate times need desperate measures”, we ought to take actions quite soon. Change is the only constant and evolution of learning is an unceasing and sustained experience, always seeking to reduce the obsolete and achieving the impudent.
Article is originally written by Farzaan Ahmed, Navigator by profession. All views expressed are personal.