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Hydrographic Training in Belgium

Marc Dauwe, Axel Annaert, Micha Libert

Recent survey studies about hydrographic training in theNetherlandsand inBelgiumhave pointed out a shortage in hydrographic training within these countries. Currently most active hydrographers inBelgiumare engineers who received additional training within companies; this is however not cost-effective and the training is not certified. Therefore a new educational programme is set up inBelgiumwith an emphasis on certification, internationalization and accessibility. The coordinating institute is the Antwerp Maritime Academy.

For the construction and implementation of the programme a round table discussion was set up between relevant higher education institutes, governmental organizations and the maritime industry to assess the audience, procedures and desired outcomes for the industry. For reasons of flexibility and administration two postgraduate programmes were established, based on IHO standards cat. B and A for certification and quality. Apart from the compulsory courses the emphasis lies with on-the-job practice with the partners of the industry to ensure maximum competence.

An optimized flexibility was achieved by allowing any bachelor with a scientific background. All courses are lectured in English; and courses can be taken up over several years to facilitate part-time work. Furthermore, a selection committee was installed to assess exemptions in order to enable active hydrographers to study only the modules that are relevant for them. These procedures allow for a qualitative and professional yet accessible programme.

The postgraduate programme cat. B starts 17 September 2012; the programme cat. A starts in September 2013. During the first cycle there is a constant monitoring and follow-up by the coordinating organization. The future emphasis lies on the IHO-approval of the programmes, the development of the postgraduate programmes into a Master orManaMa, and a contribution to the industry and the improvement of hydrographic survey work as a whole.