After two years of waiting, Sri Lankan students are the latest group of international students to be allowed to return to China to resume their studies. The announcement was made on April 21, 2022, via an official media release issued by the Sri Lankan Embassy in China.
According to the statement, the Chinese Embassy in Colombo has “finalised two groups of students” to travel to China, though no number was given at the time of writing.
“The Embassy will continue with its efforts to enable all students to return to their studies,” it said.
The good news comes amid a devastating economic crisis in the island nation, which has resulted in nationwide food shortages, 12-hour power outages, food scarcity, and a lack of medical resources. Sri Lankan students studying abroad report financial difficulties in keeping up with study costs as inflation in their home country reaches an all-time high, forcing some to make the difficult decision to discontinue their studies.
Those coming back to China to resume their learning will face the difficult task of leaving their families behind in an increasingly precarious situation, a predicament shared by many Sri Lankan students abroad. As Sri Lankan students prepare for a gradual return to China, Indian students wonder if their repeated pleas and campaigns for a return will be heard. Approximately 23,000 Indian students, the majority of whom are studying medicine, have been pleading with the Indian and Chinese governments to come up with a concrete action plan that includes a timetable for their return.
Indian medical students who are barred from entering China risk losing years of hard work because the National Medical Commission of IndiaNational Medical Commission of India has stated that it will not recognise or approve medical courses completed entirely online. For many, online courses have been inefficient, and they are unable to reap the full benefits of their education.
“We were forced to come back from China in January 2020. It’s been two years since we have been attending online classes. We don’t have any recognition of whether the Indian government will accept us with these online classes,” Murshid Aleen, a fourth-year medical student at Yangzhou University, told ANI News.
Earlier this month, it was mentioned that India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar brought up the plight of Indian students with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the latter’s visit to Delhi.
“Minister Wang Yi assured me that he would speak to the relevant authorities on his return on this matter. He also recognised the particular concerns that medical students have in this difficult situation,” Jaishankar was quoted saying. Since the meeting, no further developments allowing Indian students to travel to China have been reported.
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