Friday, July 5, 2013

IMU handicapped with many ills, craving for a healing touch


The days of Indian Maritime University (IMU) are numbered even though it is trying its level best to cross the age of 5, if the present scenario is any indication. 
As the university, established in November 2008 as a Central University, is facing a severe crunch of trained permanent faculties coupled with mounting evidences of irregularities in running the institution over the years, the million dollar question that perturbs the minds of parents and the cadets is: Will the understaffed IMU deliver students’ seafarer dream?

While the authorities at IMU headquarters, Chennai, are certain that more students would opt them for having legacy maritime institutions under their fold, experts of maritime education feel that IMU is “simply cheating the gullible students, who knock the doors of the institute with truckloads of dream, with its under-staffed institutes.”
IMU encompasses seven legacy maritime institutions namely National Maritime Academy – Chennai, T S Chanakya – Mumbai, Lal Bahadur Shastri College of Advanced Maritime Studies and Research – Mumbai, Marine Engineering Research Institute – Mumbai, Marine Engineering Research Institute – Kolkata, Indian Institute of Port Management – Kolkata and National Ship Design and Research Centre – Visakhapatnam.
IMU has six established campuses – Chennai, Cochin, Kandla Port, Kolkata, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam – and 38 maritime institutions affiliated to it.
For the current academic year, counselling for different UG courses like B.Tech (ME)/ (NA & OE), B.Sc (NS)/ (MS)/ (SBR), DNS leading to B.Sc (Nautical Science) is slated for seven days starting from July 8.
About 7800 students, who had cleared common entrance test in June, are vying for 3200-odd slots available in its campuses as well as in its affiliated institutes.
Though IMU aims to play a key role in the development of Indian Maritime and related Logistics sectors, experts in the Maritime Education and Training (MET) sector terms that the institution, which could have set its benchmark in the field with best faculties by now, is still struggling with a plethora of problems, which are growing day by day.
According to sources, barring its legacy maritime institutions, fully trained faculty strength in IMU, which had never been achieved since its inception, was the main reason for the deteriorating quality of MET in the institution.
Sources brought to the notice of Sagar Sandesh that the faculty strength in IMU’s Chennai Campus is abysmally declining over the years and it has reached an alarmingly low level recently, when the management came out with a “punishment” order transferring about 20 of the newly recruited to other campuses for seeking legal recourse in Madras High Court to save their jobs.
Speaking to Sagar Sandesh, a senior faculty, seeking anonymity, said: Due to prolonged tug-of-war between the management and the Shipping Ministry over appointment of permanent faculties in IMU, previous Vice-Chancellor Prof. Raghuram resigned. After his departure, several things have happened and the situation has reached such a level now that nobody wants to work here due to shadow power centres.”
It may be noted that campus recruitment from IMU also suffered heavily after it has emerged that the quality of students churned out from the institution lacks quality in comparison to candidates from private institutes.
According to sources, the response for P-G courses from IMU also suffered heavily this time and it is evident that only three candidates attended the counselling against the 20-odd called for in law stream.
“When this is the prevailing situation of IMU headquarter and its campuses, does it not amount to cheating the students who enroll themselves in IMU with the hope of becoming a seafarer on completing the course,” questioned an old student.

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