Effedua’s thoughts on requirements for passing the CoC exams
The Certificate of Competency (CoC) examination is quite demanding as a test of a seafarer’s competence for the job at sea. Therefore, candidates for the CoC exams are expected to take their lectures as required, study adequately before sitting for the exams.
It simply means that candidates must be well prepared for the exams, to pass. So, insinuations from anywhere that candidates fail due to poor teaching, is most unfair to say.
The Maritime Academy of Nigeria, as a federal institution for training manpower for the maritime industry, has in the last three years worked with purpose and commitment ensuring true transformation – as we now have the most-modern training facilities as well as highly qualified and competent lectures made up of Nigerians and foreigners.
For the benefit of giving first-hand and factual information, over 60 per cent of the candidates for the CoC are not cadets of the Academy. And their challenge is the fact that most of them end up making only between 10-15 per cent of required lecture attendance. Just a handful of them cover 50 per cent attendance, while some make 80 per cent lecture attendance. And the records will definitely show that those who attend classes pass the exams.
Sadly, for those who do not stay, they usually just show up for a short period of time and then disappear, going back to their work demands on board ships. But, they only show up when it is examination period.
Expectedly, ship-owners are businessmen who must sustain their business by being in business. Nobody expects that they would allow their staff at whatever level, to be away for like six months to prepare for an examination.
Ironically, everyone expects to have competent staff to do the job, and the staff too would not want to leave their job for long.
It therefore means that there is a need for a middle ground. We will discuss with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for a possibility of online lectures for those who cannot be present in the academy for lectures for six months at a stretch. Then, they can come into the Academy for their practical lectures, which would not be for too long time. I think it will work, because we have used it effectively with the cadets as a result of the lockdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic, and it was great. But, for the academy’s cadets who go through the mills, they are doing remarkable well in their exams.
It is also important to note that candidates for the CoC exams get eligibility approval from the Maritime Administration, while the Academy only hosts them and gives lectures in accordance with the syllabus, which is also given by the maritime administration. The Academy has not been given a mandate to stop such candidates from writing the exams, for not making attendance up to a high percentage.
Again, it is the Maritime Administration that handles the marking and grading of the examination papers, and subsequently inform the candidates of their performances. It is verifiable that those who pass must have stayed for lectures and covered at least 80 per cent attendance.
I recall that during my early days as Rector, in 2017, I was worried about those who failed, because I thought they were the academy’s cadets. But I got to know their status as those who only came in shortly and sat for the exams.
Now, we are talking about the issues, to help people understand how come about the situation.
For now, we are pleased that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and much respected industry stakeholders see and know the truth of the Academy’s training capacity.
It is pertinent to note that the academy is not in competition with other maritime training schools. We are just doing it right and with high capability, training to provide manpower needs for the industry both locally and internationally.
The Academy will continue to support other private maritime training schools that do not have facilities as much as do, because it is all aimed at manpower development for the greater benefit of the industry and the nation.
We can grant them training access to out facilities, train them and give them certificates to cover such training. After all, that is our reason for being here.
Commodore Emmanuel Duja Effedua(Rtd.) is the Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State.