Fate of several Indian students enrolled in a Sydney-based aviation college have been left in limbo after their dreams of acquiring commercial pilot license remained unfulfilled even after paying thousands of dollars.
In a latest scam which came to light after ABC TV channel programme ‘Four Corners’ exposed migration and education agents duping Indian students,Aerospace Aviation college that provides commercial pilot training,it was alleged,exploited international students besides ill treating Indian students.
Under their aviation course,students who have signed up for a commercial pilots’ license course that cost USD 43,500,Aerospace Aviation must deliver 200 hours of flying over 52 weeks.
Many students alleged that they never received enough flying hours due to lack of facilities and unavailability of instructors.
A student of the Aerospace Aviation college,Surendra Egalapati alleged he only received 130 hours over an 18 month period.
Another former student Scott Alex said he was disturbed by the way the college was treating Indian students.
“It was definitely derogatory the way they spoke to them,the way they treated them,” he said.
When asked if he could cite some example,he said “..instructors hating flying with curry eating Indian stinking yellow so on,and management,I know of a case where the operations manager actually pushed around a student who was complaining.”
Interestingly,after breaking the scam on the TV programme there were raids at the office of Indian migration agent,who according to Australian police was involved in providing fake documents to students,but there were no reports of any follow up against Aerospace Aviation that is run by Australian couple Sue and Zane Davis.
The programme interviewed mother of a student who alleged that after paying the entire fee of 43,000 Australian dollars the college stopped imparting training and her son had to return back with an unfulfilled dream.
She and her son Prabmeet also met the visiting high level delegation of Australian bureaucrats,police and academics in India who promised a follow up.
She informed the delegation that she had taken the issue with state regulatory bodies like VETAB (Vocational Education and Training Accreditation Board) and DEEWR (Department of Education,Employment and Workplace relations),but nothing was done so far.
Another student Surendra Egalapati echoed the same concern.
However,Sue Davis of the Aerospace Aviation refuted all the alegations and said “We welcome having overseas students with us. They all bring delightful experience with them and we enjoy their time. May I add that our student of the year for the last two years has actually been a Indian students.”
Egalapati now enrolled in a different flying school said: “First I went to Indian High commission,I complained there and they had a meeting with them and Sue Davis has assured that this is not going to repeat again.”
Another student Vishal Sarawat said: “There were not enough planes not even,not enough instructors. I was like flying with around 21 instructors you know.”
Defending her stance on the allegations made by the students,Davis said “Aviation requires a commitment. We provide the facilities,the aircraft,the highly qualified
trainers,but it must be matched by the student’s desire to reach a safety standard. I won’t back down from that. I take that most seriously,as a delegate of CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) that these students must meet the requirements.”
“We have provided everything that those students need to get through the course. The students need to provide the diligence,the dedication and the commitment,” she added.
She blamed the students stating that those students when away from home perhaps don’t meet up to their parents’ expectations.
Aerospace Aviation’s students last year lodged a complaint and when they were invited by DEEWR to hear their ordeals,only around 26 Indian students turned up including Scott Alex.
“They said to me,we’re too nervous,we want you to come with us. So I did. And when they asked what’s happening,everybody was quiet. And then I said one thing,one point like “you have to pay USD 5,000 a month whether you fly or not,that’s a bit wrong”,and then everybody just started talking.
So I just went there for moral support I guess you could say,” Alex said.
When asked if the department,the officers,gave any undertakings to actually fix the problems,Alex said “they were shocked,they were shocked and appalled with everything we said.”
However,students allege nothing concrete has been taken against the college till now.