Friday, June 14, 2013

EXCLUSIVE:World Maritime University branch in India hangs in balance


Will the country ever get a branch of World Maritime University (WMU) as assured by Union Shipping Minister G. K. Vasan and Prof. Björn Kjerfve, President of WMU, a million dollar question, hangs in balance for some months now.
It may be noted here that Mr. Vasan, while addressing students of Indian Maritime University in November last, had announced that efforts were on for setting up a branch of WMU in India.
In a related development in February this year, Prof. Björn Kjerfve, President of WMU, while addressing a gathering during the World Shipping Forum also hinted at setting up a branch in the country as India has several maritime institutions.
However, in an e-mailed reply to Sagar Sandesh on a specific query whether any process is on for setting up a branch in India, Ms. Maia Brindley Nilsson, Communications and Development Officer, World Maritime University, replied that no such move is on from the WMU side and there is nothing to report.
The World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden, is a post-graduate maritime university founded by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.
Established by an IMO Assembly Resolution in 1983, the aim of WMU is to further enhance the objectives and goals of IMO and IMO-member states around the world through education, research and capacity building to ensure safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans.

Ironically, in a resolution adopted in October 1989 by IMO while appreciating the yeomen service of the then Secretary General, Mr, Chandrika Prasad Srivastava, there was a reference of WMU branches in Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, China, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ghana, IndiaMexico, Morocco and UAE.
However, the proposal for opening WMU branches at these countries (including one in India) had gathered dust over the years as the successive Secretary Generals failed to put it in on fast track mode.
When Sagar Sandesh took up the matter with the IMO whether these branches were set up as proposed in 1989, Ms. Pamela Tansey, Senior Deputy Director, Technical Co-operation Division, in an emailed reply stated: “There are no accredited WMU branches, but WMU does run outreach programmes specifically in China, with Dalian University. It may be noted that the outreach programme is conducted by WMU professors who travel to Dalian and run the same courses as those on the Malmö campus, in other words the academic material and standards are the same in both locations.
She also clarified that at present the university structure comprises the main campus in Malmö, Sweden, which houses the governance and administration plus the main section of the student body.
However, there has been a renewed interest among the IMO top brass of late as setting up WMU branches in countries that produce major chunk of mariners for the global fleet would standardize the quality of maritime education.
But, time will only tell whether India gets a branch of World Maritime University in the coming months, if not years.

What WMU offers?

According to the details available, the WMU offers only post-graduate degrees like Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Master of Science (M.Sc.) and Post-graduate Diploma (PGD).

In Malmö, Sweden, the university offers a program leading to a Master of Science in Maritime Affairs. Students can specialize in one of these six areas – Shipping Management & Logistics, Port Management, Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration, Marine Environmental & Ocean Management, Maritime Law & Policy and Maritime Education & Training.
In Shanghai, China, WMU offers a Master of Science in International Transport & Logistics, and in Dalian, China, the university offers a Master of Science in Maritime Safety & Environmental Management. The China-based programs are designed and taught by WMU professors.

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