Monday, December 24, 2012

FLIGHT SCHOOLS: Minister admits more 'rogue' education operators exist

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce has admitted there are rogue operations in the education sector after ONE News revealed details of a flight schools where Indian students were assaulted.

New Zealand's lucrative foreign student market has come under fire following revelations flight instructor Singh Ravindra had been convicted of assaulting two of his students at Wings Flight Training Academy flight school in Palmerston North.

Joyce described the flight school has "very disappointing" and admitted there was room for improvement in monitoring education providers.

He said the sector would look at trying to create better cooperation to deal with complaints.

"We're constantly tightening the system up, it's important of course to make sure we get it right and encourage the students to come here and they're looked after."

Wings Flight Training Academy flight school received glowing reports from NZQA for four years, before the school was placed into liquidation.

NZQA said there were "highly confident" in Singh who they described as a "respected father figure" to his students. They said he had created a "family atmosphere".

Former students say the NZQA was duped.

"Our money is gone, our life is gone, our education problem is still here," said Ajitesh Tripati.

Tripati, along with other students, began to receive late night phone calls from a man in India after they complained about their abusive flight instructor to New Zealand authorities.

"If there is any legal action against you, there is no one that will be able to save you, not even the prime minister of India," said the unidentifiable man.

An education appeals authority later found Singh had been breaking rules from the very day he started training pilots.

"Captain Singh effectively controls everything that these students do from the moment they arrive," read the report.

"They can seek no independent assistance...His system is alien to the New Zealand education system."

There are currently more than 100,000 international students studying in New Zealand with the biggest group originating from India.

Joyce recently flew to New Delhi to sign an agreement promoting flight training for Indian student in New Zealand.

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