The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will closely monitor maritime schools in the Philippines to ensure the implementation of an enhanced curriculum for seafarers.

The move aims to ensure that maritime institutions are equipped with the necessary facilities and equipment required by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and other international standards, the agencies said in a statement released Monday through the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

During a press briefing in Malacañang, MARINA administrator Hernani Fabia disclosed that the European Union identified deficiencies in monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of manning training and assessment, examination and assessment of competence, program and course design and approval, availability and use of training facilities and simulators, onboard training, and issue revalidation and recognition of certification endorsements.

An enhanced curriculum for seafarers was developed by MARINA, CHED, and maritime higher education institutions. CHED Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III said that the enhanced curriculum must be implemented correctly to satisfy the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) compliance standards.

“We must make sure it is implemented correctly so the enhanced curriculum satisfies compliance with standards of the STCW (International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers),” the CHED chief said.

“Number two, we must be able to monitor all the maritime schools not just in implementing the curriculum but making sure they have the equipment that is necessary, they have competent teachers, they have good facilities so that the intended competencies and outcomes can be measured correctly and satisfy the standards of EMSA,” De Vera pointed out.

De Vera emphasized the need to monitor maritime schools to ensure they have competent teachers, good facilities, and necessary equipment, enabling the intended competencies and outcomes to be measured correctly and satisfy the standards of the EMSA and other international bodies.

The monitoring and evaluation instruments will meet the standards of the Philippines and the EU.

“We must make sure that all the requirements to produce a good seafarer are there including onboard or shipboard training so that we make sure at the end of the whole process, we produce seafarers that are up to the standards – international standards,” De Vera said.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will partner with CHED in monitoring and evaluating the country’s maritime education institutions located all over the country.

Moreover, CHED has declared a five-year moratorium on new maritime programs to focus on evaluating existing programs. According to De Vera, the move will prevent overlapping evaluations of existing and new programs.

“Ibig sabihin, for the next five years starting when we declared it last year, we will not allow any new maritime programs to be opened so that we will be able to focus on evaluating the existing programs. Mahirap kasi kung wala kang moratorium, habang ini-evaluate mo iyong existing nag-i-evaluate ka din ng bago, parang walang katapusan iyan,” De Vera said.