India’s maritime regulator wants admissions to courses in the country’s 128 maritime colleges, the first step to a lucrative career working on board ships, to be on the basis of a common entrance test (CET) from 2008 onwards in an effort to standardize admission processes and ensure that students meet certain uniform and basic criteria.
Since it is not adequately staffed for the task, India’s maritime regulator, the Directorate General of Shipping, has decided to outsource the administration of this test to a reputed institute. The maritime regulator has asked several Indian Institutes of technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to submit proposals on the best way to conduct the CET.
“We will shortlist entities on the basis of their proposals. The pre-qualified parties will then be asked to submit price bids and the entity quoting the lowest cost for conducting the test will be given the mandate,” said P.H. Krishnan, deputy director general of shipping in charge of training. The successful entity will be given the task of conducting the test for two consecutive academic years after which the process would be initiated afresh, Krishnan said.
“We have decided to conduct a common entrance test for admission to maritime training pogrammes in the wake of complaints that colleges and institutions were charging capitation fee or donations from students for admission. Besides, meritorious students were left out of the selection process,” he said.
In the common selection process, all applicants meeting the qualifying standards sit through a common test and are allotted colleges according to their rank and option by a centralized computer system. The CET would be an aptitute test and includes a psychometric test that weeds out those who are psychologically unsuited to a life at sea.
The existing selection process is different for different courses and in different colleges. The decision to conduct CET for admisions to maritime courses is based on one of the recommendations made by a high-level committee headed by the director general of shipping. The panel was set up by the ministry of shipping with the mandate to suggest steps for promoting maritime employment in the country.
India is a major manpower supplier to the world maritime industry. It currently accounts for 6% of the world’s seafarers with 26,950 officers and 55,650 ratings (as other employees are termed).
With the boom in global shipping to carry more cargo and the rising demand for sefarers, India had allowed private firms to set up maritime training insitutes in early 2000 to roll out more trained, competent seafarers to global clients. As a result, the number of marine training institutes rose from a mere four in 1998 to 128 in 2006.