A TOTAL of 23,000 Indian students who are pursuing medical education in universities in China are urging the Indian government to initiate a dialogue with the Chinese Government for their return.
These students who returned to India in 2020, following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, have been studying online ever-since. Now after the order by the National Medical Commission (NMC) reiterating that medical degree through online mode learning is not recognised in India; these students are pressing on the need for the Indian Government to intervene for their successful completion of course.
“The order does not directly apply to us as our admissions are from before the pandemic and we have attended college in China. But it shows how important it is for us to return to China to complete the remaining part of the course offline,” shared Shahroz Khan, a fifth-year student at Anhui University in China and a native of Rajasthan in India.
The NMC notice dated February 8 warns Indian students from taking admission to institutes in China for medical education. The letter referring to travel restrictions by China, talks about new admission notices given to Indian students to pursue medicine degree courses online.
The notice, which alerts Indian students that a medical degree through online learning is not considered valid in the country; asks them to take cautious decisions. But there is still no update on students stranded in India due to those travel restrictions.
“University has started offline lectures for our courses. But nobody is vocal about when we can return”, said Mukul Tiwari, fourth year medical student from the Hubei University.
According to these students, Indians are specifically left behind as they get to know that the process has begun for the return of students from other countries.
Rachita Kurmi from Mumbai, who is a third year medical student in Shandong University in China, said “Until now we were told that entry to all in China is restricted due to ‘Zero Covid’ Policy by the Chinese government. But recently, students from Pakistan, Mongolia among all are communicated to about their return. Whereas there is still no development in case of us Indian students.”
These students have been knocking at all possible doors for their return to China to complete their education, and they claim that increased dialogue between the two countries will help them in their cause.
Faisal Shaikh, State General Secretary of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) said, “These students are suffering academically, financially and mentally for the past two years. With restrictions imposed, they are not able to return to China and doing medical education online is impossible in reality. If the Indian government coordinates with the Chinese government on this, these students can return to their education.”
Shaikh has also written a letter to Minister of External Affairs of India S Jaishankar with a similar request.
Talking about the issue, Ravindrababu Konduri, professor of philosophy at the Hunan University of Technology, who has been communicating with students, said, “Students from countries having friendly ties with China are seeing the process of return. But the situation is different for Indian students. It is important to focus on public diplomacy to help these students return to complete their course. And this requires a dialogue between the two countries.”
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