In the midst of COVID-19-related travel restrictions, India’s National Medical Commission has advised Indian students to conduct thorough research before deciding to pursue medical education in China.
The commission stated in an official notification dated February 8, 2022, that some universities in China have begun issuing notices for MBBS admission for the current and next academic years. International students, especially those from India, are currently unable to return to China due to the country’s harsh travel restrictions and must learn online.
According to the council, which supervises medical education and medical practitioners in India, fully online medical courses are not recognized or approved.
“Further, the Chinese authorities have conveyed earlier that the course 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.
Before applying or seeking admission to any Chinese or international institution, Indian students have been advised to consult the FMGE Regulations.
“In view of the above, students are advised to exercise due diligence in choosing where to pursue a medical education from,” added the letter.
China, according to the letter, has suspended all visas effective November 2020. Students who returned to their home countries during the winter break were taken off guard when China announced that it will block its borders to practically all foreigners beginning in March 2020.
Universities in China declared that the term would be completed online, leaving many students without laptops, books, or other necessary materials to complete their studies.
Some students have complained about the low quality of online education, despite the fact that not all students have successfully transitioned to online learning. Students, notably medical students, who are required to complete clinical or practical components in order to graduate, are concerned about missing out on these opportunities.
An Indian medical student who only wanted to be identified as Meera previously told Study International that she had observed classmates and other international students who were barred from entering China struggle with the time difference and poor internet connection.
For medical graduates who need clinical skills to practice in the future, online learning has not been an adequate alternative.
“Being in such a program 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.”
According to reports, China is planning a “coordinated” system for the return of international students. “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-pandemic protocols”, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
On February 13, 2022, Indian students launched a Twitter campaign to facilitate their return to China.
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