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August 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Three Fijian students are among 25 caught in a legal crossfire after the sudden closure of a private training school they attend in New Zealand.

Josalin Devi, 21, Zaina Nisha, 19 and Umesh Sami, 25, were studying business and management diplomas at Ellipse Institute, which was closed in June by the NZ Qualifications Authority for failing to keep students' money in a trust account.

According to the NZ Herald, the three students have found new schools but are unable to get their money back from the Public Trust to pay for their courses because of a court battle between NZQA and Ellipse's owner, Bhashkar Prasad.

Devi said the school's former insurer StudentCare told her the money would not be released until their work at Ellipse was formally recorded. The students, whose visas are due to run out in the next few months, have also been told they can’t graduate from their new schools until they paid for their course.

However Prasad denies having the course work and blamed NZQA. He is planning to sue the Government agency over the closure.

Devi told the NZ Herald that they want their results as soon as possible because their visas were running out.
And she said they “can't afford to pay for the whole thing all over again.”

She added it was not their fault they went to the wrong school and that when they enrolled; it was legally run by NZQA.

She said NZQA staff told her Ellipse had had problems since 2009, which made her wonder why they did not take action against it sooner.

Nisha said she had paid $11,500 for her diploma of business course, which was to have finished in October, a month before her visa ran out.

Prasad said he did not have the students' papers because NZQA staff seized everything when they closed the school and did not leave an inventory of what they had taken.

NZQA deputy CEO, Tim Fowler confirmed taking five boxes of records from Ellipse which were mostly attendance and administrative records, which had been catalogued and returned. He said none of the five boxes contained academic records.


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