Bridge program will be tricky
A senior official from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on the condition of anonymity, says, “Earlier, another bridge program had been proposed and was shot down by various medical committees. In this case, amalgamation of Ukranian and Indian medical courses will be tricky. Also, providing any financial or NEET score-wise leeway to them might open floodgates for other students to demand the same.”
Dr RC Gupta, principal and dean, LLRM Medical College, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, says that accommodating additional students into the current infrastructure across government and private medical colleges will be a taxing process. “Apart from additional burden on faculty and lack of required infrastructure, this will also require temporary policy changes from the National Medical Commission (NMC), which is difficult,” he says.
An option might be for the government to allow online classes for these students so that there is no break in their education. “This can only be a temporary solution. If things do not get better, students in their earlier years may reapply for NEET and start their education afresh. However, for students in the senior years, it is recommended they either wait for the current situation to pass or look for options in other nations,” says the official.
He adds that while the government is sympathetic towards the students, there are many impediments with respect to rules and regulations, which do not allow for a simple solution for this issue.
Transfer to other nations difficult
Avoiding a break in their education is the students’ prime concern. Smriti Sharma, a third-year student at Kyiv Medical University of UAFM, Ukraine, says, “Research suggests that fees structure at many universities in Poland and Hungary is higher than Ukraine. Since financial constraints had led me to Ukraine in the first place, this will be an additional financial burden.”
Shivani, a final year student at Uzzhorod National University (UzhNU), Ukraine, says that she has explored opportunities at universities in Hungary, and communication from their end has left her confused. “A letter from one of the universities informed, ‘This is not a permanent transfer. Due to substantial differences between the curricula, we generally suggest an application to admission, and a subsequent acknowledgement of credits instead of application to transfer.’ This ambiguity has put a pause in immediate plans of shifting my education base,” she says.
Advantages of coming back
“Due to language disparity, it is difficult to have meaningful clinical exposure. This issue will get sorted in our homeland,” says Shivani. Smriti emphasises, “I feel that the course curriculum of the degree that I am currently pursuing will allow me to quickly become comfortable with the Indian MBBS degree curriculum, making the shift in education smoother.”