More than 3000 ex-cadets of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron are currently stranded and unable to further their studies to Higher National Diploma (HND) level, that is years after they have obtained the National Diploma (OND), owing to the suspension of some of the courses by the school till further notice.
Our correspondent gathered that the cadets some of who finished school since 2015, have not been able to further their studies or secure admission in other universities, due to the peculiarity of the course they studied.
One of the cadets in a chat with our correspondent lamented that he and his mates have remained unemployable because they cannot be issued a Certificate of Competency (CoC) – a mandatory requirement for placement onboard ships.
Officially, there are only two government-owned maritime training institutions in Nigeria, namely: Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron in Akwa Ibom State and the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Lagos. These are the two that are owned by the Federal Government and recognized as maritime training institutions in Nigeria. Outside of these, there are scores of maritime training institutions, many of which have been tagged ‘mushroom’ by stakeholders.
The ‘stranded’ cadets lamented that their travails have deprived them of the same level of education given to cadets under the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), who went abroad for the same courses that they offered.
Checks by our correspondent on the school website also showed that not all courses listed in the ND programme are available for the HND. For instance, under the ND programme, the school has courses such as Nautical Science, Marine Engineering, Electrical Electronics Engineering and Maritime Transport and Business Studies, while under the HND programme the school only has three courses which are Nautical Science, Marine Engineering and Maritime Transport and Business Management.
Lamenting her frustration at a recent programme organized by the Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron (AMANO) one of the cadets said she has been out of school for about seven years and has not been able to go back for her HND, because the school no longer offers the course at the HND level.
She blamed the management ofMAN Oron for failure to come up with the HND programme for the ND courses, about seven years after, this is even as the President of AMANO, Mr Emmanuel Maiguwa called on the school management to see to the plights of the cadets who have been out of school for several years.
Also one of the cadets who spoke to our correspondent, and who simply gave her name as Nike said: “I did my ND about three years ago I was about to go for HND last year but, the school has suspended admissions at the HND level till further notice, it is saddening knowing full well that the course is not a ‘common’ course you can get in any university” she said.
All efforts to get the official reactions of the school were abortive as calls and text messages sent to the Rector of the school, Commander Duja Effedua (rtd) were not responded to at the time of filing in this story.
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However in his reaction the President National Association of Masters Mariners (NAMM); Capt. Tajudeen Alao, who is also one of the examination invigilators at the school explained that some unrelated maritime courses were removed when the Effedua-led management came in, which may have led to why some of the students cannot return to school for their HND courses. He further explained that the numbers of cadet intake at the school which used to be about 800 have been reduced to 200 while adding that many of the students who claimed that they can’t go for their HND did a different course at the ND level, but are seeking to go for HND courses with unrelated certificates.
He said: “No these are some of the issues, for instance, let’s say you did ND in Journalism, you now want to use the ND to go and study Business Administration, it won’t work, if somebody did Ship Building Technology and now want to go and do CoC Engineering, it can’t work, they were doing most of this things illegally in those days, but since the new management came in, they reduced the intake from 800 to 200”.
“The initial intake then was about 800, but they’ve reduced it to 200, all those years where you see people sitting on the windows; 10 people in a room, they are no more, and then they brought in so many irrelevant courses all those courses are no longer available because the institution is a nautical science Academy, it’s not an academy for things that will not work on the ship, many people did transport they go onboard as cadets and say they want CoC, so the world was laughing at us, so we needed to sanitize the system which the present management has done, but for those who said they have their diploma they can use in other universities for their B.SC or HND since the course it’s no longer available in Oron” he said.
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