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Ukraine medicos not enthused by NMC’s academic mobility move

Proposal lacks clarity, they say

September 07, 2022 05:38 pm | Updated 08:17 pm IST - Kozhikode/Malappuram

Medical students from Kerala studying in war-torn Ukraine are not quite enthused by the National Medical Commission (NMC) plan to temporarily allow them to study in universities in other countries.

A. Karthik Madhav from Thiruvananthapuram, who is a sixth year undergraduate student at Bukovinian State Medical University, said on Wednesday that the proposal lacked clarity.

“We are not quite clear about the universities that are part of this temporary academic mobility programme in India. In Ukraine,  not many are offering this. Universities such as Odessa National Medical University, which have this option, are in tie-up with institutions that are in areas less affected by the war with Russia. Some other universities which are part of it are in Poland and Romania. Cost of living and shifting to these places will be a problem apart from our lack of proficiency in the local language,” he pointed out.

Cost of living

Aparna Venugopal, who is into her sixth year of the course at Odessa National Medical University, pointed out that only less than half of the universities in Ukraine are allowing academic mobility now. “Almost all of them are in tie-up with the same universities as well. How will so many students be accommodated in these same institutions; no one knows. It is difficult to shift to countries such as Georgia where the cost of living is high,” she said.

The NMC has said that only those students covered under the Screening Test Regulations, 2002 can make use of the option. That means junior students who are part of the regulations of 2021 will not benefit from it.

Mr. Madhav said the order was also likely to affect the sixth year students who are supposed to get clinical experience and practical classes in a new place they are unfamiliar with.

Fahad Rahman, who is into the fourth year of the course at Kiev National Medical University, said that at a time when there was increased war threat in Europe, a temporary programme might not be beneficial.

Siddeek Parappara, father of Amar Ali, who returned from Ukraine, asked what guarantee was there that the Ukranian university would be there. “Ukraine is at war with Russia. Considering the progress of the war, Russia appears hell-bent on destroying Ukraine and annexing the country. We are not sure whether the parent university will be there in Ukraine by the time the war is over. The university will be there only if Ukraine remains after the war,” said Mr. Siddeek.

He said that Indian government was washing its hands of the responsibility by making NMC recognise the academic mobility programme offered by Ukraine. “Allowing the students to choose any country for completing their studies is a bad decision. Instead, the government should take a decision and show them a more feasible means of study,” he said.

Sweta Anjali, a fifth-year student from Malappuram, said the NMC decision was not good enough to quell her fears about her future. She said students were considering countries like Georgia. “War is looking on several countries, including Georgia. We can’t predict anything now. Going back to those countries for completion of our medical programme in such a situation appears not wise. The government should evolve a better policy to help us,” said Ms. Ajali.

Fatima Fulooda from Kozhichena and Thanseeha Sultana from Kottakkal too appeared uncertain about their future, though they continued to attend online classes in their fifth year. They said they were unable to make up their minds.

It was through a public notice uploaded on its website that the NMC informed the students that the mobility programme offered by Ukraine is being considered in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs.

The degree, however, will be awarded by the parent university in Ukraine. A Lok Sabha panel had suggested the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to admit these students in private medical colleges in the country as a one-time measure.

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