Flying School students boycott meeting with GM

Aircrafts of Addu flying school | Photo:

Addu City, Maldives – Students of Asian Academy of Aeronotics (AAA), commonly known as Addu flying school, have boycotted the meeting with the schools General Manager, Mohamed Fazeel Rasheed.

According to local media outlet ‘adduLIVE’, an email had been sent out to all the students by an official from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Maldives to attend the meeting which was supposed to be held at 20:45 last night at the student accommodation block in Gan to meet with the local General Manager Fazeel.

While no students had attended the meeting, the AAA Students Union had told that they did not want to attend a meeting with the GM as the school had never formally informed the students of the appointment and also because GM Fazeel had given an interview to a local media with baseless accusations against the students.

The Students Union told that the GM had given an interview in which he had tried to defame the students and stated that students had poor performance which had lead to prolonged course durations. The Union also stated that the school was not doing anything to improve the quality of education and that the school has not even placed orders for spare parts to fix the grounded planes even though the government had recently given USD 200,000.

The Union also added that there was no environment for a stress free learning and that the school was not doing anything to improve their teaching quality. They also stated that school must solve these issues before calling for meetings as there wasn’t even a single staff in the school who was not aware of the current situation.

Students also pointed out that there has been no update on the case filed at Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services regarding harassment faced by the students of AAA at the hands of the Head of Training at the institution, Captain Suranjan de Silva even though its been more than two months since the case had been filed.

According to AAA, Mohamed Fazeel Rasheed was chosen as General Manager to bring in a Maldivian at the policy level in hopes that he would navigate the student issues by working together with the government with familiarity and ease. However, he also took the side of the previous management and held the ground in accusing students rather than correcting the issues at the school.

Most recently, Parliament of Maldives had passed the report which mandates the Asian Academy of Aeronautics (AAA) to give compensation to the financial burdens faced by the students due to the flying schools neglect. 

The report presented to the parliament floor by Parliamentary Committee on National Development and Heritage was passed during February 23, 2021 sitting with a total of 45 votes in favor of it. 

The report mandates the government to take the financial compensation from AAA and to give to the students for neglecting their rights and for the financial burdens which they had to go through due to the mismanagement of the flying school. The report also states for the relevant authorities who were responsible for overseeing the school to be held accountable and the necessary authorities to take action against them. 

In addition to this, the report also highlighted that a flying school which is open to both local and foreign students was important to the country in developing people and also for the county’s economy. The report had given the recommendation for the relevant authorities of the government to pave way for such a flying school to start as soon as possible in the country. 

Some of the issues highlighted in the report detailed that the academy had many systematic issues with managing the educational establishment, due to which, many Maldivian students were unable to complete their studies in the promised timeframe, resulting in unnecessary expenses and losses faced by the students and their parents.

It was also reported that the school discriminated against local students in the school, and that instances of intimidation, harassment and unfair conduct was also identified.

In addition to this, it was stated that the school failed to follow through with the agreement made, and the information provided to the students during enrollment, which has caused the students to suffer adverse psychological and financial affects, for which the AAA must be held accountable for.

This report was compiled following the committee’s trip to the AAA, where the members met with the management and students of the school in order to look into the issues raised by the students, after months of complaints to numerous government organizations and officials.

The report further recommended that the state formulate better and more strengthened regulations and guidelines for any parties interested in establishing educational institutes in the Maldives.

In addition to this, the school’s complaints were filed with Maldives Police Service and the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA), by the Ministry of Higher Education, for violation of set regulations in the country, in addition to the fine by the Civil Aviation Authority of Maldives for violation of maintenance standards.

However despite this, the government of Maldives is currently in discussions with the AAA to extend its contract for operating the school in Addu City, which is due to expire by the 31st of July, 2021.