Published: 21st March 2022
Indian medical students who came back from China due to COVID appeal for help
The students have claimed that with China refusing to allow them back, they have no practical experience and are demanding to be allowed to study in Indian medical institutions
The plight of Indian medical students returning from Ukraine has caught the attention of politicians and administrators across the spectrum and much discourse has followed on making arrangements for them to continue with their education. Now, Indian students pursuing medicine in China have reached out to West Bengal's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee drawing attention to their situation as well.
When COVID-19 struck two years ago, these students had been forced to return to India and have since been attending online classes only. According to a report by The Telegraph, the students claim that China has not been permitting in-person classes. On Wednesday, March 16, Mamata Banerjee had announced that medical and engineering students who returned from Ukraine will be allowed to pursue their education in the state, subject to approval from the relevant authorities. Following this announcement, medical students from China have also requested similar relief — that the government allows them to study courses at colleges in West Bengal and pursue their internships at the state's medical colleges as well. Claiming lack of practical experience, the students are appealing to the Ministry of External Affairs as well to push China to allow them to return to college.
The reasons for these students opting to study medicine in China are quite similar to those students who just returned from Ukraine — the cost of studying medicine in India can be simply unattainable for some. According to The Telegraph, 23,000 Indian students study medicine in China, where the cost of an MBBS degree ranges between Rs 30-35 lakh. In India, on the other hand, the same six-year course would cost the students and their parents anywhere between Rs 70 lakh to 2 crore. However, given the state of affairs with the ongoing pandemic, the number of students showing an interest in travelling to China to pursue MBBS has seen a significant drop. Now, with Ukraine besieged by war, it is likely that that option also becomes unfeasible for some of the 90 per cent of the students who fail to get into an Indian medical college via the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).