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Big question for Indian students returned from Ukraine: What next?

They are successful in escaping the war and returning to India. But with no end to the struggle and no sign of its outcome, Indian students pursuing medical degrees in Ukraine are caught between despair and hope. The big question: what next?

Indian students returned from Ukraine: On 4 March, as soon as shelling boomed outside, VN Karzin Kharkiv National University in eastern Ukraine alerted its international students to “scams” promising transfers to other institutions in neighboring Poland, Hungary or Romania.

A few days ago, officials of the Danilo Halitsky Lviv National Medical University in western Ukraine informed their international students that soft copies of important documents such as marksheets and research papers would be provided to those seeking transfer to other institutions outside the country.

They are successful in escaping the war and students returned from Ukraine to India. But with no end to the struggle and no sign of its outcome, Indian students pursuing medical degrees in Ukraine are caught between despair and hope. The big question: what next?

 “The university management told us that we should be patient. At present the college is closed till March 13. Earlier, online classes used to run for about a month due to Covid. Now, we do not know what the future holds,” said an MBBS second year student at Kharkiv University.

The many students who received this message from the university: “Don’t fall prey to fraudsters about to transfer to another university in Poland, Hungary or Romania… all you have to do is wait, you’ll be on your way soon.” What will happen, will be informed by the university. Please be careful and don’t be hasty, we pray that the war ends soon.” The shelling has damaged the infrastructure of the university.

A fourth-year MBBS student at the university in Lviv, said authorities have told international students they can opt for transfers. “If we share the documents we have with them, we will be provided with soft copies of our marksheets and research projects, which will be required while applying for a transfer,” he said.

A third-year student in Lviv, said the university has promised to send photocopies of documents by email. “The university is on vacation till this week. Perhaps next week we will be informed whether they plan to resume classes or not,” she said.

Ukraine is part of the European Credit Transfer System but a move to institutions outside the country is not easy. There are monetary and regulatory hurdles, say students.

The annual fee in medical colleges in Ukraine is around USD 4,900 (around Rs 3.76 lakh). In other European nations, it can be up to USD 10,000 (around Rs 7.7 lakh),” said Abhishek Singh from Lviv.

This is a tough call for parents and students who opted for Ukraine due to the relatively low costs involved.

A fourth-year medical student in Uzhhorod, has received messages from “several colleges in Hungary” that she can transfer “at the same fee structure”. “But I would prefer that she continue her studies at the same university, if possible,” said her father.

National Medical Council regulations for Indians students abroad state that the entire course, training and internship, or clerkship, should be done in the same foreign medical institution throughout the course of study.

Besides, under the National Medical Commission (Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate) Regulations 2021, courses done in an online-only mode will not be recognised.

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