Government has slammed the door on us, Ukraine returned Indian students
Dimpu Satya Aahlada Addala is a second-year MBBS student from the Zaporizhzhia State Medical University in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. As the Russia-Ukraine war raged on, Dimpu was one of the many students evacuated from the war-torn nation and safely brought back to India under the government’s “Operation Ganga” evacuation plan. During this process, the union government had also assured the students that not just their safety but their educational interests would also be prioritised, and necessary assistance would be provided to the students so that their education in India would progress unhindered.
The Probe’s Ashutosh Dixit in conversation with Ukraine returned Indian MBBS student, Dimpu Satya Aahlada Addala from Zaporizhzhia State Medical University
The Probe spoke to many Ukraine returned Indian students. Almost all students had similar concerns. Sowmya Perevemula, an MBBS student from the Bukovinian State Medical University (BSMU) in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, was one of the first batch of students to return from Ukraine. She returned on February 27, just a week after the war had started. Sowmya says she, too, is clueless about her future, just like many of her peers.
“On July 14, my semester got completed. My new semester is about to begin this week, and I don’t know what to do. Many of our parents have been protesting and demanding the Indian government to help us get accommodated in some private colleges in India so that we can somehow complete our education. But so far, no help has been forthcoming.”
With the new academic year starting in September, almost all medical students have been facing difficulties in getting their university documents from their respective colleges in Ukraine. The students have been protesting in various parts of the country, demanding the government to accommodate them in Indian institutions. In March this year, the Ukraine-returned Indian students filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court seeking a directive from the court to pass orders asking the Indian government to accommodate them in Indian medical institutions. The apex court has sought a response from the Centre on the students’ petition.
Last month, the Centre informed the Parliament that the National Medical Commission (NMC) had denied permission to accommodate foreign medical students in Indian medical institutes and universities. The Minister of State for health cited the lack of provisions in the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and the National Medical Commission Act, 2019, as a reason for the decision. The National Medical Commission is a body that regulates medical education and medical professions in India. The students say that the latest circular by the NMC has only added to more confusion.
“There is too much confusion now. We are waiting for the NMC to come out with a decision, and our contractors are also telling us to wait for the commission’s decision. In Ukraine, we have a six-year medical course, while in other countries, it is just five years. So, after a six-year course, if we have to undergo another two years of internship, as per the rules of the NMC, you can imagine how many years we will lose. And our counterparts in India will keep progressing in their careers in a short span, and we will lag behind,” says Sheikh Saeed Ahmed, a fifth-year Zaporizhzhia State Medical University student.
Ahmed adds that he and his family are traumatised over his educational status. “Every day, my father keeps asking me if there is any information from the central government, our university in Ukraine, or our contractors, and I simply keep telling them that there is no information. My family is also stressed. On June 15, we had our last exam. That was the last time I had contact with my university.”
Despite all this, some students told The Probe about the resilience and commitment of a few teachers in Ukraine who started online classes for Indian students while the war was raging in their country. “We returned to India during the month of April, and we continued our first semester through online classes. During classes, sometimes the teachers would run to bunkers. They faced many difficulties, but still, they considered it their duty to teach us,” says Sarvasiddhi Durga Sai, a first-year student from Zaporizhzhya State Medical University.
Many students also spoke about how their peers in Ukraine universities from other countries have been admitted by the governments in their home countries into state-run educational institutions. The Nigerian government recently encouraged the Ukraine returnees to visit the education ministry’s official website to apply for further education of the students in any university in the country.
We also spoke to several distressed parents who say that they feel cheated by the false promises of the Indian government. Dimpu’s father, Mahesh Kumar Addala, says that six months have passed since the assurances, but there has still not been any headway.
“After six months, when we expected a solution, one of the ministers told the Parliament that the government cannot permit Ukraine returned students to study in India. This contradicts the assurances given by the Prime Minister. My family has been facing mental trauma since February when the war broke out. My daughter’s career is in peril.”
With the new semesters all set to begin from the first week of September, all students and their parents are now pinning their hopes on the Supreme Court, which has issued notices to the Centre and the National Medical Commission.
“We have waited for so long, and we will wait for some more time. We don’t have any other option,” says a distraught Dimpu, who bides most of her time talking to her fellow classmates from Ukraine about their collective misery.
- First published: Sep 28, 2022 12:19PM
- First published: Sep 27, 2022 07:47PM
Sivakasi workers stare at black Diwali as environmentalists push for complete ban on all forms of firecrackersFirst published: Sep 26, 2022 11:08PM