Medical students enrolled in China struggle to get back to their universities; miss clinical practice 

Over 500 medical students from Kerala are studying at the Ningbo University in Zheijang province in China
Representative Image | Pic:
Representative Image | Pic:

Students who have enrolled for MBBS in China have been hit hard by the unrelenting COVID situation as they are unable to get back to their universities as the country's borders remain closed. Though classes are continuing online, around 2,500 students registered with Chinese institutions are struggling with their academic activities. Some have even gone into depression with little access to clinical practice in India.

Anagha KV, a third-year medical student from Paravoor, said, "We returned home in January last year for the winter vacation. Then COVID broke out and we were unable to go back. Borders of almost all other countries have opened and many medical students were able to get back to their universities. But we are stuck here."

She said that students are lagging behind in terms of practical exposure even as the virtual classes continue without hassles. "Students in batches from the third-year onwards are facing the brunt. For me, the depression and the mental agony over the past few months have been unbearable. I haven't stepped out of the house for the past two to three months," expressed Anagha.

Over 500 medical students from Kerala are studying at the Ningbo University in Zheijang province in China. Other favoured universities include the Fujian Medical University in Fujian and the China Medical University in Taiwan.

Aiming to address their wards' concerns, the parents of Foreign Medical Graduate (FMG) students formed the Foreign Medical Graduates' Parents Association (FMGPA). "Students studying in foreign countries are facing a lot of issues in our country," said Abdullah, Joint Secretary of the FMGPA.

He explained, "They are discriminated against in comparison with students from universities here. The central government has issued an order stating that there is no requirement for FMGs to do another internship in the country after completing internship during their MBBS course. But in Kerala, according to the Travancore-Cochin Medical Council rules, these students have to undergo internship again at a hospital here."

While Indian medical students are provided stipend during internship, those studying overseas have to pay around Rs 1 lakh to undergo internships here. The FMGPA intends to observe Saturday as 'FMG Day' to draw attention to this ongoing educational crisis.

FMGPA President Andrews Mathew, said, "The state government should intervene and help these students shape their career. Till they are here, the government should make arrangements for the students to continue their practicals. We have approached the Chief Minister and the Health Minister regarding this, but we are yet to receive a response."

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