Maritime training takes shape as Kenya gears up for ‘Blue Economy’

 

Apart from KMA partnering with global shipping lines to offer Kenya’s seafarers shipboard training, the government is also looking forward to reviving the Kenya National Shipping Line which will later have its own ship

Appreciating the human resource needs for the realization of the maritime sector contribution to the economic growth, the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) has initiated a number of programmes that are promoting maritime training and education in the country. The authority, through collaboration with the other key institutions in the sector, has developed curriculums, laying down the foundation on which the country will meet its future workforce needs.

With six institutions, both in private and public sectors now offering various courses on maritime, KMA Director General Mr. Cosmas Cherop says that the country is now able to meet its immediate human resource demands and Kenya, as it seeks to fully exploit its ‘Blue Economy’, is on the right path.

Since 14th May 2010 when Kenya joined a list of International Maritime Organization (IMO) member countries who were giving “full and complete effect” to the provisions of the Standard of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (SCTW) Convention and Code, the country’s maritime training has taken a dramatic turn in the recent years.

The White List status gave the country an affirmation that maritime education met the standards required for the growth of the industry and the economy in general. It further meant that Certificates of Competency (CoC) issued in Kenya would be accepted worldwide, opening opportunities to obtain jobs on foreign going ships.

Having achieved the coveted White List status, which had eluded the country since the first attempt was made to have Kenya listed in 2001, KMA, in collaboration with Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) developed syllabi (previously non- existent) to enhance maritime education in Kenya.

“This was to ensure standardized training in all institutions offering various maritime related courses,” Mr Cherop said.

Today, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), which was recently selected by IMO to host the regional Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) for the Africa region, has become the first Kenyan University to offer degree courses in Marine Engineering, a move that is expected to channel more graduates, who would previously seek training from overseas institutions at prohibitive cost.

Although the country is facing the challenge of shortage of lecturers to meet the existing demand, the country is adopting innovative measures to circumvent this and many other hindrances.

“For instance, JKUAT has already partnered with two Chinese maritime training universities to train more of our own lecturers,” Mr Cherop added.

Apart from JKUAT, more maritime-related courses have been developed by other institutions. Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) and Bandari College are training Diploma in Marine Engineering and Nautical Science, Craft Certificate in Marine Engineering and Nautical Sciences. TUM is also offering Artisan course for seafarers while Bandari is also offering Basic and advanced STCW Proficiency Courses, which are also offered by Indian Ocean Maritime Training Centre (IOMTC), a private institution. Kisumu Maritime Centre (KMC) is offering Coxswain courses which Bandari College also offers.

The stringent training courses are set on IMO guidelines under various Conventions to ensure that global standards are met. Kenya has ratified and domesticated STCW Convention which covers training requirements for the seafarers. Kenya has also put in place regulations to guide training and issuance of certificate Merchant Shipping (Training and Certification) Regulations 2016.

“The government is also looking on how to revive the Kenya National Shipping Line which will later own a ship. This will enable Kenyan seafarers to get shipboard training,” Mr Cherop said.

Since White Listing, Kenya has trained a huge number of seafarers, according to KMA. The seafarers have acquired internationally recognized qualifications to enable them to work aboard any ship. Since Kenya lacks an own ship to train seafarers, the country, in yet another innovative measure, has partnered with Danish DFDS Shipping Line to train Kenya’s cadet on board their vessels.

“An MOU with the Republic of Korea on the same onboard training and recognition of Kenya’s seafarers’ certification is still in progress,” Mr Cherop added.

Kenya has also been confirmed to have given the 2010 Manila amendments to the SCTW Convention full and complete effect after IMO Maritime Safety Committee Ninety Seven session (MSC 97) held in London in November last year confirmed Kenya’s report.

KMA worked with KICD, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to develop Certificate and Diploma Curricula on Maritime Transport Logistics.

As a contribution to the Vision 2030 priority projects on human resource development, the courses are designed to equip trainees with relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes to perform clerical and supervisory duties in processing of shipping documents, managing port operations, undertaking cargo and ships clearance, interpreting contract documents in shipping business, complying with environmental conventions, laws and regulations, supervising logistics and multimodal transport operations and performing ship broking activities.

The curricula will be implemented by training institutions registered by the Ministry of Education and accredited by KMA. Institutions wishing to implement the courses are required to apply to KMA for inspection of their facilities and issuance of accreditation certificates.

In order to ensure that the curriculum incorporates best practices, global trends and international thresholds, the Authority has developed structures for accreditation of training institutions implementing the curriculum. This enables monitoring of infrastructure, equipment, facilities and human resource needed for ensuring high standards and international recognition of trainees, Mr. Cherop said in an earlier interview.