Students of Munshiganj Marine Technology Institute do not have even a single visit to a ship in their four-year academic career, let alone an oceangoing vessel internship, according to a report.
A lack of practical knowledge, outdated syllabus, inadequate lab facilities coupled with shipping ministry's oceangoing certification elude many of the diploma pupils in getting marine engineering and shipbuilding jobs, notes the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED).
The draft report on five newly established marine institutes in Munshiganj, Faridpur, Chandpur, Sirajganj and Bagerhat was published this week.
The Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) set up the marine institutes in 2010-2017 aiming at creating skilled manpower for the oceangoing vessels and the country's budding shipbuilding industry.
Although the construction of the academies was completed in 2017, students with secondary 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 diploma graduates have got jobs at home and abroad.
Most of the graduates who fail to get jobs blame lack of opportunities, lack of jobs and inconsistent curricula, noted the report.
According to the report, many of the graduates did not join the workforce as they opted for higher studies, while others shy away from the available jobs due to low salary.
Meanwhile, a senior teacher of Faridpur Marine Technology Institute told The Business Standard in conditions of anonymity, "The instruments we have are not updated compared to the system modern vessels use now. Despite having a huge demand for marine graduates in South Korea, we recently failed to supply enough graduates."
Stating that the number of subject-wise teachers is less than half of the requirement, the teacher said, "There is no job crunch in the sector. But some students go abroad for higher education after graduation, while many change their sector."
IMED said cent percent employment for the diploma graduates can be ensured if the curricula are updated in line with the job market, oceangoing certification is regularised, higher education is introduced in the institutes, skilled teachers are appointed and modern labs are set up.
Chandpur Marine Technology Institute Principal Md Sakawat Ali said the institutes are under the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment as the Technical Education Board formulates the syllabus.
The principal said there are five other marine academies under the Ministry of Shipping.
"Compared to them, our courses are a bit short. Because of this, our graduates have to go through a lot of trouble 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 the principal of Sirajganj Marine Technology Institute, said the Technical Education Board updates the syllabus every five years.
"I hope the new syllabus formulated just seven months ago would address many of the existing learning issues," he told TBS.
Highlighting the lack of modern labs, he, however, said their labs still do not have any radar simulator, engine room simulator or propulsion system simulator.
According to the IMED report, the institutes are offering some short-term courses apart from diplomas.
The courses cover graphics design, welding and fabrications, electrical installation, maintenance, plumbing, fitting and driving.
More than 1.5 lakh students attended those courses and all of them are now working abroad.