Kerala Plans to have a Maritime University

Published on: 30 Oct, 2013
Published under: Cochin District News, Education News Kerala, Ernakulam District News

30 October 2013

The State government is considering the possibility of setting up a maritime university to take advantage of Kerala’s long-standing maritime traditions and its status as one of India’s biggest sources of trained seafarers.

The maritime university “is going to be a reality if not immediately, in the near future”, Department of Port sources said on Tuesday pointing to a school of thinking in the department that the boom in maritime education in the country had bypassed the State.

Minister for Ports and Excise K. Babu told The Hindu on Tuesday that he was open to the idea of the State setting up a maritime university on its own because it held out the possibility of opening up a lot of job opportunities.

Mr. Babu was fielding questions on the inordinate delay in Kochi becoming home to India’s second maritime university more than five years after Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture recommended that five such universities be set up in the country. Kochi was one of the cities highlighted in the report.

The Minister said the State Cabinet had directed the Ernakulam District Collector in 2011 to identify a suitable parcel of land for the Indian Maritime University. The move was made after the foundation for the Kochi campus of Indian Maritime University (IMU) was laid in September that year.

However, nothing has moved forward since then though Chief Minister Oommen Chandy offered to bring Goa and Karnataka under the jurisdiction of what was then proposed as a Central University as a gesture reflecting the institution’s national character.

IMU has a campus in Kochi offering various courses, including DNS leading to B.Sc. Nautical Sciences; B.Sc. in ship-building; PG Diploma in Marine Engineering and MBA courses in Port and Shipping and Logistics. Former Shipping Secretary K. Mohandas said it was the right time to get moving towards the goal of a maritime university for Kerala. He said the current lull in the shipping industry was expected to end in about two years.

If a university is set up now, the first graduates will pass out of the institution at about the time the current gloom in shipping lifts. Mr. Mohandas, however, called for a global perspective in maritime training. Narrow views would not help because shipping industry was a global phenomenon and people had to be trained to meet the global standards, he said. “A global and cosmopolitan outlook is what is needed,” he said.


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