Move to give STCW a slant on learning
The present teaching system does not guarantee that the student has learnt. A movement is therefore gathering momentum to change this to a learning process wherein seafarers will be able to operate efficiently, safely and securely.
With near misses and accidents on the rise while at sea, the focus has with intensity come to rest on training and STCW conventions. A lot of soul searching and introspection is taking place with a section of trainers coming to the conclusion that “If the student has not learnt then the trainer has not taught”. They have thus set to change the whole process as there exists a huge gap between training, learning, performing and the competence of seafarers.
It has been noticed that onboard components of transfer also seems to have declined. As a result it is felt that these conditions can lead to dire consequences including an increase in accidents, injury, loss of profitability of a company and even suicides. Hence, a self regulatory International Learning Maritime (ILM) Code has been mooted. It envisages the creation of learning through “The Transfer of Knowledge, skills and attitudes for Activities, Tasks and Functions for the Safe and economic operations of ships”.
To set matters in the right perspective, Synergistic Solutions organized a seminar-cum-workshop on 4 September 2010 in Mumbai for the maritime training fraternity, ship-owners, manning and management companies and others to consider repositioning of their training and operations to this new standard. The trade responded resoundingly as it sought to learn the true role of ‘The Designated Person Ashore’ and the ‘Chief Learning Officer’ and about the creation of a learning organization towards safer and commercially viable voyages.
Giving expression to the strategy, A. Sundara Rajan, Director of Thomas Assessments Pvt Ltd compared the current method of teaching to a defensive role. “As a trainer I taught and you have to learn. Then I test you to find out what you have learnt,” he said. “But now under this learning process the focus is on the learner and I have to ensure that what is taught requires one to motivate the person. I thus create a behavioral pattern which ensures that a person succeeds at a job. This is more so because the transactional process of work is increasing.”
Taking this approach further Prof P Vijayan, Faculty – HR of Welingkar Business School & Principal Consultant of Empowered Leaning Systems Pvt. Ltd. said, “The auditing system here is designed to plug into all the grading systems. Our vision is to convert STCW into STLCW (The Standards of Training, Learning, Certification & Watchkeeping). Despite Risk Management we still have near misses and accidents. STLCW will overcome it.” He warned that if the learning and development function of a company is not strategically positioned it could end up in having people who are incapable of taking up crucial positions in the company.
Representing the trade, Capt. Rajesh Tandon, Managing Director of V Ships India Pvt. Ltd which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the V Ships group had this to say: “We are a part of the global scenario. Whether we are in shipping, navigation, ship management, production, etc. everything that happens in the world seems to have some impact on us. Quoting Alvin Toffler he said, ‘The moment you become too good at your job you need to let go and it is time to build a new competence. Unless you give up something you cannot really become something new.’”
“Over the years our industry has been distancing itself from any blame being leveled at it or has got accustomed to shifting the blame. As a company I am concerned about how to fill the gap between the seafarers and the shore staff. A seafarer cannot be treated as a mercenary who is used for limited gain and then dumped. We need to identify the weaknesses of our seafarers and then train them to overcome these.”