India’s National Medical Commission has cautioned Indian students to do adequate checks before choosing to pursue medical education in China amid COVID-19-related travel restrictions. In an official notice dated Feb. 8, 2022, the commission said some universities in China have started issuing notices for MBBS admission for the current and upcoming academic years.
Currently, international students, including those from India, have not been able to return to China due to the country’s strict travel restrictions and have been learning online. The council, which regulates medical education and medical professionals in India, said it does not recognise or approve fully online medical courses.
Dear friends please be careful choosing which country you are going to study, please check NMC regulations before joining any country, sadly because of China’s border restrictions ,NMC have clearly stated they won’t allow MBBS done entirely online #takeUsBackToChina #wuhan #China pic.twitter.com/nsynwI1I9Q
— Medstudent (@ri12345000) February 9, 2022
“Further, the Chinese authorities have conveyed earlier that courses will be conducted online. As per the extant rule, National Medical Commission doesn’t approve medical courses done only by online medium,” said the notice.
Indian students have been asked to refer to FMGE Regulations before applying or seeking admission to any institution in China or foreign institutions. “In view of the above, students are advised to exercise due diligence in choosing where to pursue a medical education from,” added the letter.
Indian students’ medical education interrupted
According to the notice, China has suspended all visas since November 2020. Students who returned to their respective countries during the winter break were caught off guard when China closed its border to almost all foreigners from March 2020. Universities in China announced that the term would continue online, leaving many without their laptops, books, and other essential materials to continue their studies.
Not all students have transitioned well to online learning, with some students lamenting the poor quality of online education. Students — including medical students — whose courses require students to undergo clinical or practical components to graduate, are worried about missing out on these experiences.
An Indian medical student who only wanted to be identified as Meera previously told Study International that she had seen classmates or other international students locked out of China struggle with the time difference and poor internet connection. Online learning has not been a good substitute for medical students who require clinical skills to practice in the future.
“Being in such a programme where we have to treat patients, we need practical sessions and hands-on experience,” said Meera. “We have been missing all those precious years and experiences.”
Let’s unite guys and girls for the biggest twitter campaign ever 🙌🏼 Don’t forget to share with your friends 🙏🏻 #TakeIndianStudentsBackToChina #PMSaveIndianStudentsOfChina #takeUsBackToChina pic.twitter.com/eEeYZTwnuj
— Indian Students in China (@IndianChina) February 10, 2022
China is reportedly considering a “coordinated” arrangement for the return of foreign students. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday: “I can tell you that the Chinese government attaches great importance to the issue of foreign students returning to China for their studies.
“We are considering in a coordinated manner the arrangement for allowing foreign students to return to China for their studies. We stand ready to work actively toward the healthy, safe and orderly cross-border flow of people on the basis of sound anti-epidemic protocols.” Zhao did not specify a clear timeline regarding when Indian students could return.
Indian students are organising a Twitter campaign on Feb. 13, 2022 to facilitate their return to China.