When Russia launched a war on Ukraine and Indian medical students from the attacked country were told to hide in bunkers, all they prayed for was to get home safely and quickly. They reached India mostly unscathed, but remain worried about their future and unhappy with the quality of online courses at Ukrainian universities despite paying tuition fees.
A few students indianexpress.com spoke to said they had contacted government officials several times, but their future is unclear.
Losing knowledge, time
The students told indianexpress.com that they have already paid their current semester fees, as Ukrainian universities have made it clear that they cannot access online courses otherwise.
“The problem is that the quality and quantity of the conferences are also not satisfactory. Students pay their tuition, but lecturers have to interrupt their lectures after 5-10 minutes due to security threats or don’t teach wholeheartedly,” says Mahtab Raza, a fourth-year MBBS student at the Sumy State Medical University.
Faisal Mohammad, another student from Sumy State Medical University, shared a similar experience. “I am a second year student and I just finished my first year, but I had to pay the tuition for my third semester because the authorities of my university sent us a message saying that if we do not pay the tuition, we are not going to be allowed to access the platform where the lessons are shared. So to study we had to pay but the lessons usually do not take place, ”he told indianexpress.com.
“The teachers teach for 10 minutes and then they say our area is high risk again so we will have to go hide in the bunker. This lecture is never repeated afterwards and because of that, we waste a lot of medical knowledge and time,” he added.
Asked about their plans after the current semester, they said they weren’t too sure about the future. “The government doesn’t give us a deadline, so we have to keep paying the Ukrainian university to at least be enrolled somewhere, even if we don’t learn anything. So we don’t know if we should pay them for the next semester or just give up education and join my family’s farming business,” Faisal Mohammad said.
The students claimed that although they contacted the government and local ministers on several occasions, the response was scant to non-existent. “We have written to several government ministers to help us, or at least give us clarification on when they can make a decision, but no one is responding,” said Mukul Chaudhary, a third-year MBBS student at Ivano- Ukraine. Frankivsk National Medical University.
“The Supreme Court has given the NMC (National Medical Commission) a few months to develop a clinical training plan. But what about us who are not yet at that level? What will happen to us? The government has no answer for us. They need to tell us how long it will take to come up with a plan to help us so that we can plan accordingly,” Chaudhary added.
Students who spoke to indianexpress.com identify as middle class or lower middle class families. These students said they chose to study in Ukraine because they could afford tuition and living expenses. However, they do not know if they can get the same education in another western country or even in India.
“I don’t know where to go next. Hungary offers scholarships but competition is tough for it and even though I applied for the scholarship, I know the tuition fees and cost of living are higher there. The same goes for other neighboring countries like Romania, Poland, etc. said Chaudhary.
Faisal added that moving to Romania, Poland, Hungary, etc. would cost them dearly and “there is always a threat that Russia could attack them too, like Ukraine”. Raza also said going to other Western countries is not possible for the majority of students because they are “more expensive”.
The students have also made it known that they want to settle in India. “We need government help. They will have to tell us when they can form and initiate a plan, instead of just saying they will help us,” Raza said.