Factors that determines the students' choice of

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Key words: Education, Training, Maritime, Seafarer, Location. 1. Introduction ..... https://www.law.upenn.edu/journals/jil/jilp/articles/1-1_Shaughnessy_Tina.pdf.

Factors that determines the students’ choice of maritime education and training with special reference to seafaring officers Lalith Edirisinghe1,2*, Nalaka Jayakody2,Lakshmi Ranwala2, Lixin Shen1 1

College of Transportation Management Dalian Maritime University No. 1 Linghai Rd, Ganjingzi Dalian, Liaoning, China

2

Faculty of Management and Social Sciences CINEC Campus, Malabe, Sri Lanka

* Corresponding author: Email:

[email protected]

Telephone: + 94 777 562 505

Abstract Seafarer profession is proved to be a one of the most lucrative employment that is coupled with much of adventure too. However, it has become a serious problem in today’s context that certain categories of seafaring cannot join ships after completion of primary training at college. This situation has deteriorated the demand for MET by the younger generation on one hand while the quality s of applicants also declined. In other words the MET institute are compelled to be very flexible in selection criteria. As a result MET institutes are keen to understand the factors that determine the students’ choice of MET institute with special reference to seafaring officers. The study has been conducted by obtaining empirical data and the finding may be quite helpful for MET institutes. The study explored 8 key components that is rooted in 3 fundamental strategic areas, the key components are credibility, procedures, benefits, facilities offered by the institute, the location, student’s characteristics, opinion of other people and Marketing. Key words: Education, Training, Maritime, Seafarer, Location

1. Introduction The maritime industry is already feeling the effects of seafarer recruitment challenges, but the current shortage is only set to worsen; Tokyo think-tank, Ocean Policy Research Foundation, predicts a shortfall of 364,000 seamen by 2050[1]. The shortage of seafarers (especially ship officers) has already been identified as a global issue that is more likely to worsen in the immediate future[2]. BIMCO/ICS manpower report predicts potential shortage of almost 150,000 officers by 2025[3]. However, these citations are quite contradictory with the real life scenario that the maritime industry experiences today. Kantharia [4], states that ship Jobs are scarce, particularly for those at the bottom although the top rank professionals will swim smoothly. YU, (2009) defined the maritime industry as as “ship owner-oriented market” instead of “seafarer-oriented” which is even true in the present context.

All mega carriers used to place orders for even bigger ships that obviously demand new pool of employees. However, the fact remains that the gray clouds of unemployment are very much in the existence particularly with respect to junior officers in the marine market place. METs across the world vary tremendously in the amount of resource available to them for direct investment in their teachers and lecturers, in terms of wages and employment conditions, and crucially in terms of staff development [4]. The global supply of seafarers in terms of both numbers of qualified officers and ratings available to the internationally trading world merchant fleet continues to increase. According to BIMCO, (2016) the global supply of seafarers in 2015 was estimated at 1,647,500 seafarers, of which 774,000 are officers and 873,500 are ratings. In contrast the global demand for seafarers in 2015 was estimated at 1,545,000 seafarers, with the industry requiring approximately 790,500 officers and 754,500 ratings. These statistics is self explanatory o the dilemma that the industry has undergone today.

Accordingly, the current supply-demand situation is a shortage of

16,500 officers and a surplus of 119,000 ratings, with an overall surplus of 102,500 seafarers.

This

will lead an estimated shortage of 11.7% in 2020 and 18.3% in 2025. Therefore although the global supply of officers is forecast to increase steadily, it is predicted to be outpaced by increasing demand. Some officer categories are in especially short supply, including engineer officers at management level and officers needed for specialized ships such as chemical, LNG and LPG carriers. [3] More and more seafarers, particularly the ratings, have to compete with others for a job onboard. Accordingly, YU, [6] suggests that maritime education and training (MET) systems, including the scale, teaching curriculum and modes for both cadet program and seafarers updated training, is required to be adjusted accordingly to provide better services for the industry. MET should be enhanced in terms of facilities and equipment, curriculum design, learning methodologies, quality of instruction and in all aspects of ensuring a pool of high qualified and competent marine officers and engineers to man the world fleet[5]. Considering the seriousness of the existing situation with respect to the scarcity for job placements for beginners and increasing problem of overall deficit it is vital to examine the issue more comprehensively under different contexts. The study attempts to explore the factors that determine the students’ choice of MET institute with special reference to seafaring officers.

2.

Literature review

The post secondary education is a real turning point for most of students as they usually end up in a destiny that the selected path is capable of taking them. Therefore, they usually evaluate the options very comprehensively prior take the final decision. The obvious key factor for the majority of them is the job opportunities they have after the studies. In a shore based job they consider the infrastructure facilities, recognition in the society, reputation of the industry and institutes etc. However, when it comes to seafaring the major psychological debate that first and foremost comes to one’s mind is the fact of being away from home forever. Secondly, it is not going to be “home” away from home like in working as an expatriate. Ship is a entirely different environment that most of students have no experience of. Therefore, the human nature of resistance to change acts the initial impediment in one’s mind for sure. More than a century on, seafarers still regularly joke that their job is like being in prison with a salary[6]. The ‘industry’ response to poor levels of education and training has primarily taken the form of international regulation. The intention of the IMO’s policy was to raise standards in nations

that had previously provided poor education and training for maritime officers and ratings[4]. In seafaring the job has to be performed in a team that multiple nationalities may consist under different level of authorities. Manning has now become an increasingly important factor in the regulation of ships both by international convention and national law [7]. These conventions includes, inter alia, The STCW Convention (1978) amended in 1995 (Manning scales and certification); The International Safety Management Code (Chapter IX of the SOLAS Convention); SOLAS (Inter-related questions of crew training and skills in various areas); and The US Oil Pollution Act 1990 (OPA90) (Manning and management of the ship both ashore and afloat). Since the 1920s the flags of convenience (FOC) system has proven to be extremely profitable not only for the vessel owners and shipping companies that utilize open registries, but also for the countries that operate the lax registry apparatuses[8]. FOG means a flag of a country under which a ship is registered in order to avoid financial charges or restrictive regulations in the owner's country. Even offshore bankers have not developed a system as intricately elusive as the flag of convenience, under which ships can fly the flag of a state that has nothing to do with its owner, cargo, crew, or route[6]. However, researchers have found that the greater the number of nationalities on board, the more they work together. Contrary to the expectations of many in the industry, crews of multinational ships were found to work together effectively given the right conditions and company support. There was no indication that nationality correlated with leadership or initiative, challenging the popular stereotype held by many within and beyond the industry[9]. The OECD countries (North America, Western Europe, Japan etc.) remain an important source for officers, but growing numbers of officers are now recruited from the Far East and Eastern Europe. The majority of the shipping industry's ratings are recruited from developing countries, especially the Far East and South East Asia. Other major labour supply countries include Greece, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom.[10] Shipping has certainly become safer, but not always friendlier to humans or the planet[6]. The other common factor that comes to the minds of a student (or necessarily the parents) is the work safety. Unlike in a shore based job the risk of “sailing” in the sea, the place on the globe that remains free from human control (but only by god) is a most powerful yet somewhat hidden obstacle in the students’ choice of maritime education. Zain, Jan, & Andy, [13] in their study revealed that students’ perceptions play a vital role in their choosing a particular institution. In a similar manner, it was also exposed the importance of promotion (marketing) in impacting the students' choice of study in PIHEs. The introduction of STCW had a major influence on training within the industry. The intention of the IMO’s policy was to raise standards in nations that had previously provided poor education and training for maritime officers and ratings.[4]

Fig 1: Conceptual model of student’s choice of Higher education institutes (HEI)s showing the relationship between student characteristics, external influences, College attribute, information satisfaction and student’s choice of HEIs [11] Ming, (2010) proposes a conceptual model that suggests two key categories that influence the college choice decision namely, fixed college characteristics and college effort to communicate with students. The overall model consists of 10 variables including location, academic programs, college reputation, educational facilities, cost of college, availability of financial aids, employment opportunities, advertising, campus representatives, and campus visit. According to Chapman, [15] the general conceptual model of student college choice is based on the interaction between the students’ characteristics of socioeconomic status, aptitude, educational aspiration and achievement and a series of external influences. The external influences fall into three categories namely, significant persons (friends, parents, high school teachers, and counsellors); fixed characteristics of the institution (cost, location, program availability); and communication efforts of the college (campus visits, written information, admissions and recruiting activities). In the context of an increasingly internationalised labour market and poor controls by Flag States (International Commission on Shipping, 2000) international regulation of the shipping industry via the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and to a lesser extent the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has become increasingly important. These international regulations rapidly became the reference point in the design, and implementation of education and training programmes for officers on a worldwide basis. The process was assisted by the

production by the IMO of ‘model courses’ that could be adopted and adapted by Maritime Education and Training colleges [4]. Several issues faced by the shipping industry have made seafarers’ lives at sea extremely difficult [12]. The main determinants of perception in the study of Zain, et al., [13] were experienced lecturers, suitable syllabus, qualified lecturers, and knowledgeable lecturers. Among these variable measures, knowledgeability of the lecturer was reported to be an important factor in changing the students' perceptions about an institution. The model illustrated in figure 1 makes the marketing component a critical factor. The research conducted by Zain, et al., (2013) revealed that students choose institutions that are mainly promoted through radio and television. This finding may encourage institutions that are struggling to compete with the established institutions to use radio and television as the primary medium for promotion. Word of mouth is an important medium that these institutions can adopt, as well, to promote their programmes to potential students.

3.

Methodology

The proposed conceptual framework is shown as figure 2 below. The independent variables to be examined are students’ socioeconomic characteristics; perceived benefits of the campus; campus facilities; location of the campus; credibility or the reputation of institute; cost of campus; procedures; influential people; and the marketing communication of the campus.

Higher qualification Advanced subjects A/L results Parents income high Lower course fee Lower affordability Only child of the family

Students’ Characteristics

Employment assistance Events in campus Events outside Helpful faculty staff Extra classes

Benefits

Comfortable classrooms Canteen facilities Wifi availability Library Other Infrastructure Scholarships Monthly installment Credit cards payments

Facilities

Location Of campus

Location Students’choice for MET Institute

Academic reputation Foreign Affiliations Buildings and labs No. of students International recognition Faculty / lecturers Part of a larger Group

Credibility

Selection procedure Admission procedure Examination procedure Foundation course

Procedures

External influence Parents’ recommendation Friends’ recommendation Brother/sister’s recommendation Relative’s recommendation Teachers’ recommendation Schoolmates’ recommendation

Campus Open day Education exhibitions e mail from campus Campus web site Newspaper advertisement Poster/handbill Telephone call from campus Tuition class marketing School marketing

Influential people

Marketing

Figure 2: Conceptual model of student’s choice of MET institute showing the relationship between student characteristics, external influences, college attribute, college marketing efforts and student’s choice of MET institutes 3.1. Questionnaire The study is an extension to the research paper compiled by three researchers under the title “The direction of maritime education and training development: a conceptual approach”. The former paper

attempts to identify the factors that influence students’ choice of university education in general. It is a conceptual paper on student’s choice of maritime education and training. As far as the present empirical study is concerned, a composite questionnaire was developed to identify the factors that influence the choice of maritime education and training institutes with special reference to seafaring officers. The questions reflect the students’ college choice model [13] as the basis, and supported by other drivers identified through literature (Wiese, Heerden, & Jordaan, [17]; Khairani & Razak, [17]; Zain, Jan, & Andy, [13]. The complete questionnaire was reviewed by a panel of three experts spread across academia, and marine industry, who commented on the clarity and relevance of the items, and the comprehensiveness of the questionnaire in covering all aspects of the variables being investigated. The Cronbach Alpha for engagement items was 0.787 indicating good reliability and internal consistency. 4.

Analysis and discussions

Zain, et al., [13] stated that the higher education institutes should focus on its academicians’ expertise in promoting their institutions to the potential students. Therefore, identifying the core determinants of the students’ choice of MET institute is vital. This research is mainly based on the response variables, students’ choice for the MET institute and the impact of campus product offer. Descriptive analysis has been carried out to check the relationship between the response variable and other explanatory variables. Due to the availability of co-linearity between explanatory variables and as those variables are very much related to the choice for the MET institute, data reduction techniques is administered. Data has been gathered through questionnaire survey, 75 questionnaires distributed and 59 received. 4 questionnaires rejected during data cleaning process. In the sample, approximately 44% of students had good A/L results. 40% of students are preferred to work part-time while working. 33% of the students are preferred to have more weight to continuous assessments in evaluations. 45% of students’ selection is depending on the recommendation of their parents.

30% of them are depending on the

recommendations of their teachers in selecting higher education programme. More than 50% of students are preferred distance learning. Only 15% of students say that, representatives from higher educational institutes visited their schools. In hypothesis testing Students’ preferences in paying course fees using credit cards and installments payments are highly significant. Being the only child in a family has significant impact on selecting the location of the higher education institute.

Table 3:

KMO and Bartlett's Test

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy.

0.647

Bartlett's

Approx. Chi-Square

53.155

df

28

Sig.

0.003

Sphericity

Test

of

Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) and Bartlett’s test is used to measure the strength of the relationship

among variables. KMO test statistic measures the sample adequacy. But KMO test statistic is higher than 0.5, at 0.647, it can be concluded that the sample is adequate for a satisfactory factor analysis. This could be further improved by improving the sample size Following hypothesis has been checked during Bartlett’s test Ho: correlation matrix is an identity matrix. H1: correlation matrix is not an identity matrix. As p-value of the Bartlett’s test is 0.003, null hypothesis is rejected. It can be concluded that, correlation matrix is not an identity matrix which further supports the strength of the relationship among variables used in factor analysis. Table 4: Compone

Total Variance Explained Initial Eigenvalues

nt Total

%

of

Varianc

Extraction Sums of Squared

Rotation Sums of Squared

Loadings

Loadings

Cumula

Tota

%

tive %

l

Varianc

e 1

2.952

36.898

of

Cumulati

Tota

%

ve %

l

Varianc

e 36.898

2.95

36.898

1.300

16.247

53.145

1.30

36.898

1.123

14.032

67.177

4

0.870

10.872

78.050

5

0.696

8.704

86.754

6

0.441

5.510

92.264

7

0.381

4.768

97.032

8

0.237

2.968

100.000

1.12

ve %

2.05

25.714

25.714

22.839

48.553

18.624

67.177

7 16.247

53.145

0 3

Cumulati

e

2 2

of

1.82 7

14.032

67.177

3

1.49 0

Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. 67% of the total variance is explained by the factor model. Three factors have been identified as dimensions of students’ choice for MET institutes namely, 1) Credibility and procedures of available courses; 2) Institutional attributes; 3) Student’s characteristics and Marketing influence. Figure 3 illustrates the 3 dimensions of students’ choice for MET institutes.

Credibility and Procedure of Available Courses Credibiity

Procedures

Institutional Attributes Benefits

Facilities

Student Choice of MET Institute

Location

Student Characteristics and Marketing Influence Students’ External Demography Influence Marketing

Figure 3: Students’ choice for MET institutes (Source: Authors) Credibility and procedures of available courses This component refers to two variables namely, Credibility and procedures. According to the data analysis these variables show a significant impact on students’ choice for MET institutes.

The

absolute value of loading for Credibility and procedures are 0.761 and 0.668 respectively. Institutional attributes The absolute value of that was obtained for three components namely; Benefits, Facilities and Locations are 0.562.0.927, and 0.592 respectively. The components that combine refer to Benefits, Facilities and Locations are called, “Institutional attributes” for the purpose of this study. According to the data analysis these variables show a significant impact on students’ choice for MET institutes. Student’s characteristics and Marketing influence The last component refers to three variables namely, Students ‘Characteristics, Influential people, and Marketing. According to the data analysis these variables show a significant impact on students’ choice for MET institutes recording an absolute value of loading in the Extraction/ Rotation Method for Students ‘Characteristics, Influential people, and Marketing are 0.603, 0.697, and 0.675 respectively. 5.

Conclusions

The particular finding is of extreme importance to the education policy makers in the MET industry and more specifically to the seafarers, as it provides a clear indication that students’ perceptions about an institution can be influenced positively if the available courses are of high credibility and the procedures of course conduct are smooth and user friendly. In terms of marketing these factors can be explained as “product” and “process” in the services marketing mix. Secondly, the institutional attributes such as benefits, facilities offered by the institute and the location where the services are being offered may influence the students’ choice of MET institute. In other words, these variables also

have its roots in the theory of services marketing. For example, facilities are connected with three components in the services marketing mix namely, Physical evidences, People, and Place. The third component refers to the student’s characteristics and Marketing influence that primarily reflects the institutes’ marketing activities thus Promotion. As stated in Zain, et al., (2013), current students are suggested to become ambassadors by representing their institutions and interacting with their juniors at their respective former schools. Therefore, identifying satisfying and anticipating

the students needs and wants should make the core

management process by MET institutes in order to compete other players at a profit. The importance of staff development programmes derives from the fact that most MET staff are recruited because of their maritime experience and qualifications. Lecturers are generally certificated officers, and many are senior officers with an excellent depth of knowledge and understanding. However, these are professional mariners, rather than professional teachers, and to reach an adequate teaching standard all require training in teaching techniques and basic pedagogy [4]. The sea service must be planned and must include evidence of satisfactory completion of such training as required for the first certificates of competency as “officer of the watch (OOW)” in accordance with the STCW Convention.[14]

6.

Further research

As reiterated in many researches the student college choice model varies from one country to another country. According to recent statistics India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria provide almost 90% of non-UK officers holding Certificates of Competency [15]. Therefore, it is vital to approach the countries that contribute more to the seafarer community and similar studies should be extended to other countries as well because trying to develop a single model of important facts to apply cross-culturally may not be possible.

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