“Earn dollars, see the world for free and have a girl in every port.”
This is the phrase that maritime schools often use as come-on, either as a blatant offer or as a subtle hint, particularly on collecting girlfriends, to lure unsuspecting students.
Little do they know that this catching phase has wrecked a thousand dreams.
(1) ON THE SUPPLY and DEMAND IMBALANCE: The Philippines is producing 20 thousand maritime graduates a year and the industry can absorb only three to five thousand.
(2) INABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY TO TAKE CONCRETE STEPS: There are almost 100 schools offering maritime courses. Most of these schools cannot pass the international standards and had been committing moral ‘estafa’ for years in the pretext of giving education. The sad news, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), which is in charge of monitoring these schools, has been sleeping on its job. The CHED itself has NO EFFECTIVE MONITORING SYSTEM and this is the very reason why schools offering maritime courses sprouted all over the country. These schools do not have EFFECTIVE MONITORING SYSTEM and QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION as well as what the EMSA assessors found out when they conducted an assessment here.
(3) SHIPPING COMPANIES SHOWING NO RESPECT FOR FRESH GRADUATES: There is an exception to the rule. If you are a graduate of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA), Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP), NYK-TDG Maritime Academy, DMMA, and the University of Cebu; and if you are scholars of John B. Lacson and of Southwestern University in Cebu and the likes, you are well respected. You are even given free education and even allowances. But if you came from a sub-standard school and could even hardly read and speak English, expect no respect from the employers. The Visayan Maritime Academy, the Mariners Polytechnic and the Malayan College of Laguna have their own manning agency where they will send their cadets for apprenticeship.
(4) UNWILLINGNESS/INABILITY TO ENTER A DIFFERENT MARKET: Not very true One of the reasons why most of our young boys took this course is that they would like to imitate their neighbors or relatives who were once idiots in the barrio but have become successful seamen and now own a very nice house and car. They believed that any idiot in the barrio can become a seaman and earn dollars. They were told by their parents to take this course because there is no chance for them to become lawyers or doctors since they are stupid. They best thing for them to do is to take BSMT nor BSMarE and earn dollars.
(5) IMPROPER/INADEQUATE TRAINING: It is a fact that there has been a huge lapse in the quality of deck and engine cadets and that poor quality cadets come from sub-standard schools. This is expected. Most of the graduates from sub-standard schools rely on their relatives and friends who will bargain for their employment like a “buy one, take one” merchandise. Officers know that the seafaring industry has a shortage of qualified officers. They will bargain for their relative if the manning agency wants to hire their services. On the other hand, sub-standards schools don’t care where their students will go after spending three years in school. They have paid for their tuition, anyway. However, if the student is successful in looking for a shipping company that will take him for his apprenticeship, his school will charge him for a ONE-YEAR tuition and matriculation fees; otherwise he will not get his diploma. This is what we call highway robbery in broad daylight.
MARINA is now the SINGLE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION that can make a drastic change in the rotten education and training system. TINIG NG MARINO is waiting in this corner for the outcome of the EMSA audit this coming October.