Published: 05th August 2022
Ukraine-returned medical students from Kerala say Centre, states and NMC have left them in a lurch
All-Kerala Ukraine Medical Students and Parents Association (AKUMSPA) secretary Silvi Sunil said a few students attempted suicide recently
The students from Kerala who had been doing MBBS course in various universities in the war-torn Ukraine find themselves in no man's land when it comes to continuation of their studies. The students and parents allege that the Centre, state government or the National Medical Council (NMC) is doing nothing to address their concerns. The situation is such that several students have even been diagnosed with acute depression.
"We are under immense stress and are worried about our future," said Shyam Kumar, a final-year MBBS student of Odessa National Medical University. He said the medical council has abandoned them by insisting on mandatory offline classes. "This has become a crutch for the universities in Ukraine which are forcing us to return to the war-torn country for attending offline classes," he said.
"Many students are considering going back irrespective of the dangerous situation there. We are so desperate that we are ready to disregard our personal safety to not lose out on the valuable years that we spent doing the course," said Shyam.
Mental health of students is at stake
All-Kerala Ukraine Medical Students and Parents Association (AKUMSPA) secretary Silvi Sunil said a few students attempted suicide recently after coming to know that the only option left for them is to take transfer to universities in other countries.
"In the case of transfer, the students will have to repeat a year again, besides remitting nearly the same amount they had paid to get admission in Ukraine universities. The banks will refuse to give any more loans citing various rules," she said.
"Another issue is the blackmailing tactics being used by the recruitment agencies. The agents have begun contacting the students asking them to sign over a power of attorney. This will enable the agents to get the certificates from the universities," she said. "However, there is confusion and a lack of transparency in their approach," she added.
What are the second, third, fourth and fifth-year students supposed to do?
According to Mohammed Aslam P A, a third-year MBBS student of Vinnytsya Medical Univesity in Ukraine, only a few Ukraine universities are ready to transfer their students to medical institutions in other countries.
"However, there is no clarity regarding this too since the NMC has not issued a circular allowing the students to seek a transfer. The majority of the students cannot afford a transfer as many are from middle-class families and cannot pay the huge fees charged by the universities in the European countries," he said.
Fahad, a third-year MBBS student said: "There is no communication from the NMC on what the first, second, third, fourth and fifth-year students should do so as to continue our courses. Fahad's sister is a second-year student at another university in Ukraine. "The medical council has issued communication only regarding a scheme for those sixth-year students who had completed their courses. The new academic year starts from September 1, 2022," he said.
Fahad said the Centre, all state governments and the IMA president had guaranteed the continuation of our studies when we returned. "But nothing has come to fruition and all of them have washed their hands of the issue," he said. The students under the aegis of AKUMSPA have approached the Supreme Court seeking justice.