Polina Rahman hosted by trusted family - David Widerberg, EF President
Polina Rahman, the 17-year old Russian student who was found dead in a valley in Paceville on Monday, was probably walking to her host family in San Gwann when she met an untimely death.
The President of Worldwide Operations for EF International, David Wildberg, told di-ve.com that it was at 10am of the following morning that the host family informed EF that Polina Rahman, who was in Malta to learn English as a foreign language, had failed to return home after attending a school organised party the night before.
According to EF policy, the school checked with local hospitals and police authorities to confirm whether the student had been involved in an accident. Later that evening, when all checks had returned negative results, the parents were informed that their daughter was being reported as missing.
Mr Widerberg explained that the student was staying at one of EF's most trusted licensed host families, with more than 10 years’ experience in hosting students. She had however signed up for an International Language Course which allows the student a number of liberties, including a non-enforceable curfew. He also confirmed that on Tuesday nights, the night when Ms Rahman disappeared, students are taken to a local club for a welcome party where non-alcoholic drinks are served. There is no policy keeping students from leaving the event and students can make their way home.
“Had Ms Rahman been part of a Group Travel Course which enforces strict curfews, the checks effected to confirm that the curfews are adhered to would have highlighted her absence. However in the case of Ms Rahman, the curfew outlined in the EF student's manual and passed to the host families serves only as a guide and both the students and their parents are aware of this. Parents make conscientious decisions based on the mutual trust they share with their children when they sign them up for these programmes,” said Mr Widerberg.
The EF President, did not wish to comment on who told the police that Ms Rahman was last seen at 04.00 nor did he specify if she was alone, saying that a police investigation is underway. Mr Widerberg insisted that this tragedy should not effect the company's ties with Malta and EF will continue to promote the islands as one of their best locations to learn English. "We will keep doing our utmost to improve our relations with Malta for the better of our company and also to see Malta's economy move towards a brighter future".