I would strongly request the Ministry of Education/Health & Family Welfare, Government of India to provide the rehabilitation of the medical students through a bridge course in India and cover the change in cost by providing them with education loan that can be extended and talk about a Global Education Insurance that will even cover the emergency evacuation and rehabilitation costs or at least part of it and prepare a Risk Nation List for education.
The universities in Ukraine should have anticipated this war with Russia, which had been talking of this misadventure for a long time. The Ukrainian government and the universities should have been well prepared due to the large number of foreign students in the country, including about 20,000 Indians on their campuses. Shifting these students to neighboring countries would have been the easiest option.
As the Sanskrit sloka says, ‘Providing food to the poor and needy is the best charitable deed but making people learned by teaching them is the supreme form of Charity. Food gives momentary satisfaction but the Knowledge will empower them to lead a satisfactory life’.
The Government of India could, as a one one-time measure, consider admitting the students to study in Indian medical colleges based on well-defined parameters. I welcome the recommendation of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to accommodate the returning students in Indian medical colleges for the remainder of their course by disbursing them to various colleges with the right modalities.
As an immediate temporary measure, the Government of India, while admitting the students to study in Indian medical colleges based on well-defined parameters, must also consider allowing these colleges to run a second shift or an extra shift to accommodate the academic and learning needs of the medical students from Ukraine. This approval from the GOI should allow them to use the existing beds, infrastructure, faculty and other facilities without having to make any fresh or new investments or additions.
However, the government has to take a call if these students will have to pass the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE) after the completion of the course, as a part of this education happened outside India free of the rigour that Indian students go through. Further, the students have to pay the same fee that they would be paying in Ukraine as also pay for hostels and food to the colleges in India which opt to accommodate this new requirement based on possible directions of the government.
The Centre and National Medical Commission of India (NMC) are discussing modalities to accommodate thousands of Indian students pursuing medical education in Ukraine in either Indian medical colleges or those abroad so they can complete their courses and then appear for NEET-FMG. It would be apt if NMC examines the issue on humanitarian grounds and takes all efforts to support the students. I am sure parents and students would heave a sigh of relief. The Ukrainian universities should transfer the credits of the students opting to study in India if the GOI approves of such a scheme.