This discussion will be about this article.
While reading this article, I saw some things that I agreed with and a lot of things that I did not. So in true fashion, lets discuss.
“Critics say it is unfair that students from our nation’s five state maritime schools, the majority of which are saddled with large student loan payments, must compete for jobs against KP graduates who all receive free tuition.
“It is just unfair,” said one gCaptain reader. ”Tuition at KP is paid by the taxpayers. They compete for jobs with state students who need those jobs to pay off student loans.””
- No one is forced to go to a state academy over USMMA. I chose to go to MMA because I thought it was going to give me a better education and a more normal college atmosphere. That’s what I wanted, and because of that and being an out of state/region student, I am choosing to have student loans. That is my choice and has nothing to do with fairness. With that being said, even with being at Maine Maritime, if I wanted free/reduced tuition I could join the ROTC unit and go Navy, Marine Corps, or SSO.
"The US Maritime Administration (MARAD), which has federal oversight of KP, argues that all KP alumni serve as active duty or naval reserve officers and work not just aboard deep-sea commercial ships but aboard US naval, Military Sealift Command, inland waterway, offshore, research and other types of vessels around the world."
As a rebuttal to this, I would stay that there is a large group of Kings Point students who are only there because of the commission they receive upon graduation, not the license. While it is admirable that they want to serve their country, they are also taking resources that could be used for people who actually want to sail on a license. This problem doesn’t exist at state academies
In the section 'Show Me The Money" Konrad talks about how since KP isnt going to get a new training ship then they should get other improvements. While I dont disagree that KP should get much needed infrastructure improvements. Personally, I think every Academy, including KP, should get a training ship and sail on it. Sailing on a should ship for someone’s first real time at sea allows a standardized training schedule that ensures everyone gets the same education and also is a more controlled atmosphere where students can learn yet still have a good time and bond with classmates. Breaking up sea time also allows more room academically for students who might fall behind for some reason IE sickness, lack of getting a ship because of COVID, family emergencies etc.
"A merchant marine technology and innovation center would likely cost less than a single training ship and could train midshipmen on the latest technology and, if congress would allow outside participation and investment, it could be a center for global maritime technology and do for our industry what Stanford and MIT have done for the tech sector."
- I think every academy needs to update their technology training. Especially with Dynamic Position becoming a widespread technology, there is no reason why schools shouldnt have a class on it.
"There are many ways to accomplish this but it starts with a single uniform worn by all students at all academies. It requires a common language and a common set of experiences throughout all the schools."
- I completely agree, and don’t really see why it would be an issues to implement this.
"In the past year, I have had the opportunity to talk with presidents and administrators at most of the state schools and they all face one big problem. This is also a problem at Kings Point. The problem is it’s difficult to fit new programs into a curriculum that’s bulging at the seams. A curriculum that’s overstuffed with mandatory license training programs like the ones once offered by GMATS."
- I disagree with this. Yes, getting a maritime degree is harder than getting a business degree at your local state college, but it is not extremely hard with “a curriculum that’s bulging at the seam.” This is highly exaggerated.
"Specifically, I would call on the USMMA to conduct the summer indoctrination of all students enrolled in Merchant Marine license programs."
- I disagree with this even more. My question is Why? Why should I have to got to Kings Point to do their version of INDOC when I really don’t have to. This goes to the argument of a more normal college experience that I wanted. If I wanted to do their INDOC then I would have gone to KP. Plus, every school has their own traditions and by forcing them all to go to KP, they lose those traditions. It sounds like he’s advocating for a bunch of mini KP’s that all report the the current KP, and I personally dont like that.
"It would work like this. State school graduates not obtaining licenses as well as those with licenses who are going to work shoreside or on vessels that don’t require extra endorsements would graduate and enter the workplace on schedule. Those seeking endorsements like STCW, and willing to sign up for the USMS, would travel to Kings Point for an additional 6 months of specialized training after graduation."
- If my school couldnt teach me what I needed to know about shipping out in 4 years, then I should really consider going to a different school. Maybe someone else can fill in the blank, but what would we actually be doing in those 6 months that we couldnt do at our own institutions?
"… it would give our young officers a common set of principles, a common uniform, and the opportunity to meet each other and develop a common culture before leaving to enter the workplace."
- I like the idea of having ways to meet and talk with cadets from other schools, and I think the schools should do more together. Maybe that could be in a junior cruise type fashion when students could go on another school’s ship. Since the ships are all supposed to be built the same and with the same features, there woulnt be as much as a learning curve and could give students a way to meet.