India asks Chinese authorities to ensure medical students’ training

The Indian Embassy has asked Chinese authorities to “ensure that all Indian students coming to China for clinical medicine program are educated, trained and facilitated so that they can fulfill the requirements of National Medical Commission”

November 07, 2022 02:49 pm | Updated 11:22 pm IST - Beijing

File picture of Indian medical students protesting at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. The students had to leave China when the pandemic hit, which dealt a blow to their education

File picture of Indian medical students protesting at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. The students had to leave China when the pandemic hit, which dealt a blow to their education | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

India on Monday said it had raised with concerned Chinese authorities and medical colleges the issue of adequate training and preparation for the thousands of Indian students in China to ensure their compliance with new eligibility rules for practice in India.

“The [Indian] Embassy has apprised the Chinese authorities concerned and medical colleges with a request that they should ensure that all Indian students coming to China for clinical medicine program are educated, trained and facilitated so that they can fulfill the above requirements of National Medical Commission,” the Indian Embassy here said in a statement.

The statement reminded current and prospective medical students in China – there were as many as 23,000 Indian students enrolled in the country before the pandemic – that any student “who joins for clinical medicine program in China after November 2021 and fails to obtain license to practice as a medical doctor in China, will be rendered ineligible to appear for Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE)” in India.

A Gazette Notification dated November 18, 2021 from the NMC stated that foreign medical students needed to be licenced for practice in the country where their degree was awarded to be able to sit for the FMGE exam.

Students concerned about new rules

The latest advisory followed queries from concerned students on the new rules. After close to three years of closed borders, China has recently begun to issue some visas for students to return to the country and resume their studies.

India in September had issued another advisory for students, reminding them of the November 2021 rules and that only 45 universities in China were officially designated by the Ministry of Education to accept foreign clinical medicine students. Students were also informed that they were required to complete an internship in China and clear the Chinese Medical qualification examination and obtain a physician qualification certificate to be able to appear for the mandated FMGE test in India.

The September advisory also noted some of the issues faced by students in China, which has emerged as a popular destination for medical education given the competitive costs as well as rising rankings of Chinese universities.

“One of the most common challenge is the English language skills of Chinese teachers in these universities,” it said. “Few students have also complained about lack of practical/clinical experience in terms of engaging with patients in certain universities.”

It also noted a study showing only 6,387 out of 40,417 students who appeared in FMG Examination from 2015 to 2021 cleared it, while the pass percentage of Indian students who have studied clinical medicine programme in China in that period in these 45 universities was only 16%.

China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday said “at least 1,300 Indian students” had been granted visas to return to China. “The communication channels between Indian students and Chinese universities are smooth,” spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in response to questions about many students still awaiting no-objection certificates from their universities, required for visa applications. “Indian students are advised to keep close contact with their universities and return back for their studies in an orderly manner according to the arrangements of their universities.”

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