Indian students studying medicine in China are facing a queer problem. They can study medicine but cannot practise practicals that are indispensable in medical education. This is because China had banned visas for foreign students studying there in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that this visa ban has affected about 23,000 Indian students who had enrolled themselves to study medicine before the pandemic. No doubt, the universities are providing virtual classes but they have no practical experience.
Students are also facing difficulties in online classes when due to network problems or in cases they are unable to understand a particular concept. Students in the fourth year of their studies are facing the most brunt as they are unable to know if they will be able to go back and resume their classes before they reach the final year.
Efforts To Call Back Students
Though the Chinese government hinted this week that they are attempting to call back the foreign students but no time frame has been specified. Even the Indian government has been urging China to take the students back and offer them practical classes. Indian students said openly that their career is in trouble because of online classes which continued for 2 years denying them the chance to attend practical classes.
Student’s Preference For Medical Studies In China
Two factors encourage the students to study in China — the same fee structure as in India and the availability of sufficient seats across the country. The students say that even middle-class students can go to China because the fee is comparable to India. It is 3-4 lakhs per annum. Secondly, they say, it is difficult to get a medical seat in India, but contradictorily, it is very easy in China. They have plenty of seats available.
Difficulty For Availing Internship
Final year students are unable to join any internships in India as they lack practical training. As a rule for practising medicine in countries like Russia, China, the Philippines, Ukraine etc Foreign Medical Graduation Exam (FMGE) is a must for practising in the country. The students have been told by their Chinese universities that enrolling themselves for practical experiences in local hospitals or universities needs to be done on their own.
National Medical Council (NMC) has stated that China has not yet relaxed the travelling restrictions imposed in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic thereby making it impossible for a large number of Indian students to go to China to resume their studies. At the same time, the notification has made it clear that online medical courses are not approved by the council. Therefore, the students are advised to choose and think diligently before applying to any medical institution abroad.
In view of the Covid pandemic, which is the rarest of the rare cases, NMC should arrange special training classes for the medical students whose career is in trouble. Students can be asked to join a special course in order to offer them the training from which they were deprived. It is a question of the career of so many students.