Azerbaijan deaths : Education system needs streamlining | Sunday Observer

Azerbaijan deaths : Education system needs streamlining

The accident which took the life of three young Sri Lankan students in Azerbaijan last week has rightly brought out the need to discuss the standards of education locally and the need to review agencies that send students abroad.

Soon after the unfortunate incident which took place on the 11 January, 2020 Minister of Higher Education Bandula Gunewardene said that they will take steps to introduce a regulatory framework on such agents and institutions that send students to foreign universities.

The sisters Malsha Sandeepani (23) and Tharuki Amaya (21) were residents of Piliyandala while Amodya Madu Hansi Jayakody (24) was a resident of Kaduwela. The three of them took up courses at the Western Caspian University, Baku in Azerbaijan last August.

A fire that broke in the apartment where they were living in Sabail district of Baku resulted in their death. According to the postmortem as reported in foreign media the cause of death has been identified to be carbon monoxide.

Speaking to the Sunday Observer the father of Malsha Sandeepani and Tharuki Amaya said that the incident was due a faulty heating system.

“I spoke to them that night. My eldest daughter was following an IT course while the younger daughter was following a course in fashion designing. This university was recognised and was ranked top among universities. Hence, we decided to send our children there,” he said.

The student’s aunt (father’s sister), had also died from a heart attack. It is unclear whether this death was due to the students’ death or due to a health condition.

The Police and Fire Department of Azerbaijan are to conduct further investigations into the matter.

The bodies of the children who died on January 9 were brought in through the foreign mission in Teheran coordinating with the foreign ministry to expedite the process at state expense.The Funerals took place on Friday (17).

This incident quite rightly highlighted the need to identify the need to streamline and monitor the higher education sector. Many institutions that are in the business of sending children to foreign universities are not under scrutiny.

Following this incident, at a press conference Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane said that as education minister he would soon introduce a system to streamline and monitor such institutions and uplift their quality by introducing a regulatory frame work.

He further said that he already instructed the University Grants Commission to look into the matter and act swiftly in introducing the regulatory framework.

Sending children abroad for higher studies push parents to make difficult decisions such as sending children to a country like Azerbaijan.

Minister Gunewardane further said that the first step in the right direction should be to reform the local education system so that students are able to read for a degree without much difficulty while maintaining standards.

It is due to the difficulty in sending children to local universities that parents tend to send their children abroad.This also brings the need to consider the establishment of foreign universities in the country.

The minister also said that he had already identified land to establish recognised foreign universities so that local students do not have to find exorbitant amounts of cash to support their higher education.

The three students faced an unfortunate fate shedding light on an issue that has been glaring at us throughout the years. Their deaths will not be in vain when proper, long lasting solutions are found to the existing crisis in the education system.

- AS

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