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TIP to phase out maritime programs

TIP to phase out maritime programs
Yashika F. Torib March 4, 2020

Engr. Felix Oca, president of the Philippine Association of the Maritime Institutions PHOTO from FAS Maritime
The Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) will soon phase out its maritime programs allegedly due to the constantly changing regulations and requirements of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

TIP’s voluntary phasing out of its maritime programs will take effect this coming school year when it will no longer accept freshmen. It will, however, continue offering the same programs for the next two to three years until its existing cadets and those who are currently taking their shipboard training graduate.

“They have to maintain similar programs and certain faculty for validation of shipboard training. Then they can decide if the maritime education regime by that time is better; whether they will reapply for the maritime programs again,” says Engr. Felix M. Oca, president of the Philippine Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI), the umbrella organization of maritime schools in the country.

Oca emphasized how one of the best maritime schools in Metro Manila becomes the first casualty of the unstable development and implementation of regulations by CHEd and Marina.

“We can only hope that the development of [curricula] and regulations will improve soon; so, this case won’t happen again,” Oca said in reference to TIP.

Oca also made clear that, contrary to initial news circulating within the maritime industry, TIP is “not closing.”

“They are voluntarily phasing-out programs only for maritime education. Nonetheless, they need to continue operating for the next two to three years for their existing maritime students — those who are taking up BS Marine Transportation in their Manila Campus and for those who are taking up BS Marine Engineering in their Quezon City Campus.”

What went wrong

Oca revealed that the normal phase of upgrading the curriculum is every 10 years as it takes four years to find out whether the changes have worked and which areas need to be further improved.

“Here in the maritime education sector, our policies, guidelines and [curricula] are changed every two years! There’s not much time left for us to adjust and comply. We are yet to complete a full cycle; then, here comes another change,” he revealed.

“The problem I see here is that the state agencies control the design and development of the curriculum, unlike in other countries where they will contract a ‘center for development and excellence’ to work on these things. Here in the Philippines, every time there is an audit, every time they notice something amiss, they’ll come up with changes that are for immediate implementation.”

“Maritime education is not a very profitable business; constant changes in [curricula] and policies entail changes in equipment and facilities as well.

“We really hope that CHEd will not rush the development and implementation of the curriculum. I’ve been a member of its technical working team, and I’ve seen how they seem to be in such a hurry coming up with something new. It takes time and the right people to do research, to take a look at the problems. Based on our experience, you only improve what is already existing. You do not just change everything,” he explained.

Oca disclosed that issues still arise even after a year of developing the curriculum. “Marina and CHEd both have their respective jobs to do on top of overseeing maritime education.

What could be best for all is to contract a group of maritime education experts to work on this. Let them submit [findings] to the technical committee for review and then to the commission en banc for approval. That way, we won’t have to be constantly changing policies and [curricula],” he concluded.