Maritime training institutes in India were pre-dominantly in the Govt.
sector prior to the year 1996. During 1996, maritime training was opened
for private sector participation. Since then, more than 130 institutes
are engaged in conducting various types of pre-sea and post sea courses.
At present, except for inspections by the Academic Councils, there
is no other system of accurate evaluation of training institute. It has
also been observed that there has been wide variation in the quality of
training being imparted by maritime training institutes. It is therefore
desirable that some rating of institutes be done by an independent and
reputed body in order to maintain consistency of high quality of maritime
training and education. This will not only lead to healthy competition
among the institutes but will also improve their status and thereby increase
the marketability of Indian seafarers from such rated institutes. In the
increasingly competitive manpower supply scenario in International Shipping
, excellence in maritime education and training is a necessity.
The Directorate is of the opinion that it is necessary that a system
should be evolved where a common platform of benchmarking of various maritime
training institutions across the country is in place. A publicly available
and highly credible bench-marking exercise acts as a powerful tool for
non-intrusive regulation and quality enhancement.
The Director General of Shipping has consulted various stake holders
about this aspect. Three premier rating agencies viz. CRISIL, ICRA, &
CARE were identified and they were advised to study and formulate the
detailed scheme for benchmarking of training institutes. A series of presentations
and discussions were held with these three rating agencies. While formulating
their schemes, the rating agencies had interaction with some of the maritime
training institutes and have also done a trial benchmarking of at least
one training institute each. Their reports have been discussed in detail
in Directorate and with the agencies. Based on these discussions and after
fine tuning the proposals thus received, the Director General has approved
the three rating agencies viz. CRISL, ICRA and CARE as approved agencies
to undertake the benchmarking / grading/ rating of various maritime training
We are aware that being a new concept, various stakeholders specially
the training institutes will have some curiosity and clarifications to
seek. Basic issues along with their explanations are as under : -
1. NEED FOR GRADING TRAINING INSTITUTES?
A grading is an opinion expressed by an independent agency on the
extent to which individual course offerings in maritime education meet
the desired course objectives as stated by the Directorate General of
Shipping in India (DGS) from time to time in its capacity as the regulator
of maritime education. This opinion would be based on an assessment by
the agency of the various aspects of the course offered, such as faculty,
facilities, infrastructure etc. to the extent applicable for the course
2. GRADING OF INSTITUTES AND COURSES
The grading would be directly applicable to the courses offered by
any training institute. This grading for individual courses would be used
as an input to arrive at a grading for the institute. It may be pointed
out here that the grade assigned to individual courses offered by the
same institute may differ substantially from one course to another.
3. AGENCY FOR GRADING
DGS has put in place a panel of three agencies CRISIL Ltd. (CRISIL),
ICRA Ltd. (ICRA) and Credit Analysis & Research Ltd. (CARE) for this
grading exercise. These entities have a long track record in the area
of credit rating in India and have also been active in grading exercises
for other service providers like hospitals, schools etc.. Institutes can
approach any of these agencies for grading.
4. BENEFITS OF GRADING IN MARITIME EDUCATION?
Though the grading exercise has the largest benefits for students
and the institutes, it also has potential benefits for employers and even
DGS. These benefits are briefly laid out below :
STUDENTS : A credible grading of courses would significantly aid students
in their decision of choosing an institute for a particular course. This
is because the grading would seek to assess the relative quality of similar
course offered across various institutes. Moreover, to the extent that
the course offered would be benchmarked against international best practices
as well, students would get a fair idea about the course quality against
global standards too. This would be useful for both pre-sea students,
who might have inadequate knowledge of the industry, as well as seafarers
preparing for post-sea certifications.
INSTITUTES : The grading would be a potent symbol of differentiation
for institutes that conduct particular courses better than others. This
would help these institutes in attracting more students from both within
and outside India. The grading exercise would also involve extensive interaction
of the grading agencies with the institutes and sharing of an assessment
report with the institute which would provide a rationale for the grade
assigned and feedback regarding areas of improvement.
EMPLOYERS : The grading of course offered would provide employers with
a means of assessing relative quality of education imparted and refine
expectations with regard to on-the-job performance of recruits. This would
be particularly useful in courses which do not involve any external examinations.
DGS : The grading would be an additional input for DGS in regulating maritime
education in the country. Moreover, it has the potential to serve as an
effective tool for non-intrusive regulation of more than 100 institutes
and encouraging a permeation of best practices across institutes. Further,
if a system of quality education can be put in place, India could emerge
as a global centre for excellence and cost-effective maritime education&
5. HOW WOULD THE GRADING BE INDICATED?
It is intended that course offerings would be graded on a five point
scale from grade 1 (indicating high quality) to grade 5 (indicating below
grading standards. The grade would be prefixed by the name of the agency
responsible for assigning that grade e.g. a CRISIL assigned grade would
read as CRISIL Grade 1, an ICRA assigned grade would read as ICRA Grade
1 and a CARE assigned grade would read as CARE Grade 1. Grade 1 will effectively
mean outstanding, Grade 2 - Very Good, Grade 3 - Good, Grade 4 - Satisfactory
and Grade 5 - Below Grading Standards.
6. FOR HOW LONG WOULD AN ASSIGNED GRADE BE VALID?
The grading agencies would review all assigned grades periodically
so as to ensure that the grade remains current at all points in time.
However, the grading for the institute will be valid for a period of 2
years from the grade assigned . The rating agencies will however collect
information and make periodical verification after completion of one year
in order to have continuation of the grading.
7. WHAT ARE THE PARAMETERS CONSIDERED IN THE
The broad framework for grading has been devised jointly by the three
grading agencies under the guidance of DGS. The critical parameters include
(to the extent applicable for various courses) the quality of faculty,
quality of infrastructure, & training facilities the quality of the
teaching process, performance of graduating students, the management quality
and track record, placement of passing out students and an assessment
of the operational / financial sustainability of the institute. DGS has
prepared an inventory of critical factors to be assessed as a guide to
the grading agencies. Copy enclosed as
However, the agencies are free to devise their methods of assessment of
these factors as well as expand the list of assessed factors. Therefore,
the details of assessment by each agency may differ in their approach
but the standards of assessment, breadth of factors assessed and the weightages
assigned to individual factors in the overall assessment shall be similar.
However, to ensure that the end result of the different agencies can be
compared when they are grading similar Institute, the rating agencies
are given various heads for grading with detailed parameters for grading.
8. HOW DOES AN INSTITUTE GET ITS COURSE OFFERINGS
The institute has to first contact one of the grading agencies and
mandate it for the grading exercise. The agency would then follow the
process outlined below.
· Seek information required for the grading from the institute
· On receipt of required information, have a preliminary discussion
with the institute's management.
· Have discussions with institute director and faculty at the institute
· Visit the institute and study the facilities and the actual education
and training procedures.
· Discuss details of the education process with the faculty / laboratory
training facilities/infrastructure/ supervisors / students/trainers.
· Final analysis based on the above discussion, documents and other
information provided by the institute.
· Prepare an analytical assessment report
· Present the analysis to a committee comprising senior executives
of the concerned grading agency. This committee would discuss all relevant
issues and assign a grade
· Communicate the grade to the institute along with an assessment
report outlining the rationale for the grade assigned.
· The address of these three grading agencies are as under:
1. Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited, CRISIL House,
121-122 Andheri Kurla Road, Andheri (East) Mumbai - 400 093 - Mr. S. Venkataraman,
Tel. No. 56913038 / 5691 3001.
2. Credit Analysis & Research Ltd., Kalpataru Point, 2nd Floor,
Kamani Marg, Sion (East) Mumbai - 400 022-Mr. Shri P.N. Sateesh Kumar,
Head-Advisory Services Division Tel.No. 56602871 -75
3. ICRA Ltd., Kailash Building, 4th floor, 28, Kasturba Gandhi Marg,
New Delhi - 110001-Mr. Amul Gogna, Executive Director, Tel.No. 011-23357940-50/
011-23357014 / 011-23355293
9. WHAT CAN THE INSTITUTE DO IF IT IS NOT SATISFIED
WITH THE GRADE ASSIGNED BY THE GRADING AGENCY?
The grading agency would provide the institute with a written report
outlining the logic for the assigned grade. The institute can contest
the analytical conclusions made by the agency in the rationale. In case
some material information is not included in this analysis, the agency
would repeat the grading process. In case the institute is still not satisfied,
it can go to another agency for a second opinion.
10. DOES THE INSTITUTE HAVE TO ACCEPT THE GRADE
The institute can choose not to accept the grade. In this case, the grade
would be kept confidential. However, once the grade assigned is accepted,
it would be disseminated to the public. Also, the institute would be obliged
to facilitate the process of review of the grade from time to time for
as long as is indicated in question six. Further, any revision of an outstanding
grade in this period would also need to be publicly disclosed.
11. WHO PAYS FOR THE EXERCISE? WHAT WOULD THE FEE
The institute would pay for the exercise. The fee charged by different
agencies would depend on their respective processes of assessment. The
Directorate is not deciding on the fee to be charged from the institute;
similarly, the Directorate will not interfere in the fee settled by the
Agency and the institute.
12. IF THE INSTITUTE PAYS FOR THE GRADING, HOW
DOES THE RATING AGENCY MAINTAIN ITS INDEPENDENCE?
While the institute-fee model naturally creates a potential conflict
of interest (that could lead to higher than warranted grading), experience
in other areas where grading has been used indicates that the existence
of this conflict does not by itself lead to lax grading standards. This
is because reputation of the grading agency would play a crucial role
in its perceived value.
· Although the institute would pay for the grading, the student
would use it. Like any other product or service, the 'value' of the grade
would depend entirely on the perceptions of the user - in this case, the
student and/or the sponsor employer. Consequently, users would 'buy' only
those gradings that they find 'valuable'.
· Student perceptions, in turn, would be based on the credibility
of the past gradings assigned by each rating agency. Lax standards by
any rating agency would lead to a loss of credibility and an erosion of
the 'value' associated with the gradings assigned by that agency. This
would reduce demand for gradings from that agency, consequently affecting
Thus, even though the institute would pay for the grading exercise, grading
agencies would have a strong incentive to maintain their independence
due to the reputation risk arising out of lax standards.
13. DOES DGS HAVE A ROLE IN THE GRADING EXERCISE?
No. The DGS does not play any role in the assessment made by the rating
agency. The grading is intended to be an independent and unbiased opinion
of that agency. The role of DGS is that of a facilitator of the grading
process whenever required.
14. SAMPLE SIZE ADMINISTRATING THE GRADINGS
Rating agency shall take note of adequacy of sample size in order
to assess the Maritime Training Institute to have holistic and complete
15. BENCHMARKING PROCESS TO BE PART OF QUALITY
The institute which opt for grading/benchmarking, should include this
aspect in their QMS so that this can be reviewed during their internal
16. WHETHER THE GRADING IS MANDATORY
The Directorate is aware that the concept of benchmarking is new
and should be introduced gradually. With this intention this has been
discussed on various occasions for more than a year. To begin with the
grading is not being made mandatory and it is expected that the institute
shall come forward for benefit of all stakeholders for grading of their
institutes. However, for approval of new institute / new course / expansion
of capacity due additional weightage shall be given if the institute is
After review of the progress and the feedback received the Directorate
shall consider whether to make benchmarking mandatory for the training
institute at an
The dispute between the rating agency and the institute will have
to be settled between themselves only and Directorate will not involve
itself in the process.
All institutes are requested to get themselves graded and the grading
may be displayed in their advertisement.
Sr.Dy.Director General of Shipping