China's decision to allow Indian students to return to institutions and take physical education mode lessons has provided a welcome reprieve. However, because the approval will be 'need-based,' India will have to play a significant role. Not everyone will be allowed to return right away, and no timetable has been specified. As a result, the wait will not be over anytime soon.
The announcement is a glimmer of hope for more than 23,000 students stuck in India since March 2020, but the uncertain situation is far from over.
“Students enrolled in medical universities in China are suffering more because of political issues,” said Dr B Srinivas, ADG, Medical Education, Ministry of Health while speaking to the Education Times. While China had been allowing students from other countries to attend physical classes, they had been curbing Indian students from flying into the country, he added.
Meanwhile, the students had also been demanding to continue their practical training in the Indian medical colleges. In the past, they had staged a mass protest in Delhi demanding a solution to continue their physical training here. Regarding this demand of the students, Srinivas added, “Every medical college is run by its rules and regulations. Allowing these students to pursue their practical training in India will disturb the student-teacher ratio. The National Medical Commission (NMC) needs to make amendments on this and address students’ problems.”
“While we are stuck here for the past two years, China has allowed students from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Russia and Indonesia to study in China. Due to this, few students have taken a transfer in other countries, but for most of us, the uncertainty continues. Around 5% students have taken admission in the medical colleges of Armenia, Georgia. We have not received any guidelines from the NMC on whether such degrees will be considered valid or not. So, 95% of students are just waiting to get back to China and resume physical classes,” says Saumya, from Patna, Bihar who is enrolled in the Shandong Medical University, China.
"We are around 23,000 medical students who are stuck in India since March 2020. Medicine cannot be studied online as the students need to engage in the lab work, practical and assist patients and doctors for more exposure," says Mridul Salaria, a 3rd-year medical student in China. Moreover, the students who will be graduating this year and next upcoming year have a great wall in front of them. They will be forced to sit idle at home. We are requesting the government to either ensure our return as soon as possible or arrange our practical in India so that NMC recognises our degree. As per NMC direction, the medical degree will have no value if the entire education is pursued via online mode. We are in great fear of our degree cancellation,” he says.