Students caught in Ukraine imbroglio await clarity

Evacuated pupils ponder the way ahead in the war-torn country as a new academic year begins

September 26, 2022 06:31 pm | Updated 06:31 pm IST - TIRUCHI

Indian students who were forced to leave Ukraine in the wake of that country’s war with Russia earlier this year, have spent the past months in a state of limbo, as they await clarity on the best possible way to complete their degree courses.

“If everything had gone to plan, we would have graduated in June 2023. But since we were asked to leave Ukraine in March, our medical degrees are at stake because there is a lot of uncertainty about how and if we will be able to finish our courses,” G.R. Nishaanth, 22, told The Hindu.

Mr. Nishaanth, a fifth year student of medicine at Ternopil National Medical University in west Ukdraine, was evacuated to his native city of Thanjavur in March. Like most returnee students, he hopes to complete the degree with the sixth year as a house surgeon in Ukraine.

“Though India’s National Medical Commission has allowed us to relocate to other European universities that accept Ukrainian college students, most of them have already started a new academic year, and we will be able to join only in October or November,” he said.

In the meantime, Mr. Nishaanth has been spending time in local hospitals in Thanjavur as an observer, trying to gain hands-on experience. “It helps me keep in touch with my studies,” he said.

Lessons have resumed for Keerthana Selvam, 19, who was among the first few batches of Indian students to be evacuated from the western Ukrainian city of Uzhhorod. Ms. Selvam, who is based in Jayamkondam, Ariyalur district, began her second year of medical studies at Uzhgorod National University this week through online classes.

“Fortunately for us, Uzhgorod has been unaffected by the conflict, so our professors have restarted lessons online. We are getting our textbooks as PDF documents through email, which are followed up with online video lessons. But it all depends on the student’s personal effort to do well in the exams,” she said.

For Tiruchi resident Santhosh Xavier, who managed to complete his Mechanical Engineering studies from Ternopil Ivan Puluj National Technical University online after evacuation, getting the final degree certificate and other attested documents from Ukraine is proving to be difficult.

“The university has asked foreign students to pay 500 US dollars (₹39,825) as processing charges to courier the papers through safe zones. In the pre-war days, the service fee used to be just 70 hryvnia (₹152). Without getting our certificates, we cannot plan for the future,” he said.

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