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Marine students find themselves all at sea

M.P. Praveen
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It was the fascination for the ship and the ocean that persuaded Vijesh, a young lad in his early twenties from Malappuram district, into doing a diploma course in Marine Mechanical Fitter in a city-based institute two years ago.

Then just a couple of days ahead of his final examinations, thunderstorms hit his dream, leaving him all at sea with no shore visible.

He had come to collect his hall ticket in the last week of September, when to his utter shock, he found the College of Marine Technology, where he had spent almost two valuable years of life and more than a lakh of rupees, locked down. The examination scheduled for October never took place.

“I don’t know what to do. Two years of my life have gone waste. I must have something to show for those years before I can chart my future plans,” said the bespectacled Vijesh with a bemused smile on his face.

Shattered dreams are what unite hundreds of students like him from across the State who had woken up one fine morning to the realisation that the hours of hard work and their parents’ hard earned money had gone into an unrecognized course.

Dibin, hailing from Kannur, no longer trusts anyone and that includes the media. “There were channel guys all over the place when our issue came to light but no one bothered to tell our story. We have realised that there is no point complaining to you people,” he said with complete disdain while talking to The Hindu just outside the Central police station, where he had come to lodge a complaint, on Monday.

Joshua, a student from Kollam, now settled down in the city, said that there was no indication of their impending fate until they found the gates of the campus closed before them. “We were told that the course was approved by ABS (American Bureau of Shipping). We were given glossy brochures and a CD detailing the certificates we were entitled to at the end of the course. Also the 17-year-long history of the institute gave us confidence,” he said.

The identity card issued by the institute claims that it is an ISO 9001-2008 certified institute.

Vishnu, another student from Kollam, has been staying back in the city for more than one week scared to face his parents. “This course was my choice and I don’t know how to face my parents now. There are many others. Many have availed of education loan while those could not do so, have taken loan on collateral security,” he said.

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