Nearly 15,000 students who have returned from war-torn Ukraine are pursuing their medical studies online, the center told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
According to the center, of the 15,783 students who returned to Ukraine whose information is available to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, only 640 students are in the conflict zone to complete their course, while 170 have received admission to Ukrainian partner universities in other countries.
In response to a series of petitions filed by student associations wishing to continue their studies in India due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, an affidavit from the Department of Health and Family Welfare provided these statistics to the court.
Also read: Help Ukrainian returnees pursue higher studies: AICTE at universities
On November 11, the Court requested information from the Center on the number of students being placed in other countries as part of the government’s academic mobility scheme.
Under this program, the National Medical Commission (NMC) allowed students to complete their studies abroad, although the degree would be awarded by Ukraine.
The affidavit filed on Monday reads: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has received information that a total of 15,783 Indian students are enrolled in various medical universities of Ukraine, of which 14,973 students are enrolled in online courses conducted by the relevant medical universities of Ukraine will. and 640 students are completing offline education in Ukraine.”
As part of the academic mobility program, the center said: “170 students enrolled in Ukrainian universities continue their education at partner universities in other countries as part of the academic mobility program.”
The affidavit further states: “In addition, 382 students applied for academic mobility, but their applications were not accepted by either the Ukrainian university or the receiving partner university.” This was due to various reasons including non-payment of fees, poor academic performance or unavailability of free places.
A panel of judges, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, released the matter for November 29, as many of the student petitioners did not receive a copy of the center’s affidavit.
Meanwhile, petitions have also been submitted by medical students returning from universities in China and the Philippines during the height of the Covid pandemic. Due to travel restrictions, these students could not physically continue their course and sought the accommodations the center offers to students in Ukraine.
The bank asked NMC adviser Gaurav Sharma to take instructions on the petitions submitted by students who had returned from China and the Philippines.
The NMC on September 6 said it had no objection to the government’s academic mobility program, which gave students the choice to continue their studies at a foreign university cooperating with Ukraine’s medical universities.
In September, the center submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court stating that students evacuated from war-torn Ukraine cannot be placed in Indian colleges because it would be unfair to local candidates who do not make it to those colleges could.
In addition, the center argued that there is no regulation under the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 or the National Medical Commission Act 2019 to admit or transfer medical students from overseas medical colleges to Indian colleges.
It further clarified that the NMC’s September 6 public announcement allowing “global mobility” cannot be used as a “backdoor” to migrate students from foreign universities to India.
The center’s affidavit further alleged that NMC took additional steps to allow medical students from Ukraine and China who completed their course before June 30, 2022 but were unable to intern to take the Foreign Medical Graduate Exam ( FMGE) to enable. This is a screening test administered by NMC, which is required to be accepted by overseas medical students to practice in India.
The court had asked the center to reconsider its position in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
A month ago, the Embassy of India in Kyiv issued a public notice urging Indian nationals to evacuate from Ukraine amid escalation of hostilities across Ukraine.