Many students choose to pursue a career in medicine with the hopes of saving lives and securing a place in one of the top-paying professions in the world, and one of the best countries in this field is Ukraine. From teachers with the best qualifications and education with high standards to low tuition fees and a strength of about ten students per class, Ukraine serves best when it comes to the study of medicine, which makes it a preference for students all over the world. But due to the current situation of war, students of Indian origin are being forced to leave the country, which compels them to think about other courses and careers, leaving their dream career behind.
The Career Conundrum
The financial fulfilment, social and peer respect, and challenges that make you learn something new every day from practising as a doctor make it a top choice for students and parents, and this profession has stood the test of time really well. But for the Indian students studying in Ukraine, it seems difficult to make their dream a reality, even after striving hard for it. As the students are either asked to leave the country or have already been sent back due to the situation of war in the country for about eight months, they are left with no other option but to give up on the course. Some students are enrolling in other courses like BSc, BBA, and dentistry, while others are looking to continue their studies in the same field in other countries. Both of the options require students to pass some extra tests or entrance examinations, which not only affect the mental health of the students adversely but also add more years to the completion of their studies.
The students who are in their first or second year are being advised to enrol in some other universities that are located outside of Ukraine, while the seniors are suggested to take online classes that would cover the theory portion of their curriculum. However, both options are not fully achievable, as enrolling in other universities would extend the course duration, they might not get admission into courses and institutes as prestigious as the present ones, and completing medical science only through theory might create difficulty in placements and even during practise in the student’s medical career.
The financial drain
Studying medicine definitely affects the pocketbook severely. Even in government institutes, you have to be financially sound to complete your studies smoothly. Though Ukraine has a fee structure that helps students complete their studies cost-effectively as compared to other countries in the world, studying abroad includes many expenses like accommodation, food, in-country and foreign travel, etc., which makes it expensive. The war situation has already affected the students adversely, putting some of them in debt. While struggling with the current and future expenses of their education, the students are worried about the loans they have taken to cover their academic fees.
The loans are both private and from financial banks, but it would be very difficult for them to pay their loans back without even completing their studies. Some of them already didn’t have enough money for foreign education, but the hope of financial stability after becoming doctors made them and their parents go for it by taking loans, but their dreams seem to be shattered if you look at the current scenario.
Students have parents who are not earning, are already in debt, and even have health issues, which makes it difficult for them to manage their expenses, leaving them frustrated, stressed, and helpless.
Indian students who have left Ukraine pleaded with the Supreme Court for help, where they agreed to take the matter ahead with the Ministry of External Affairs and the National Medical Commission as they want to seek admission to Indian Medical Colleges, but due to the lack of any provision in Indian Medical Laws (the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, and the National Medical Commission Act, 2019) that allows foreign students to continue their studies in India after getting enrolled in foreign institutions and the unavailability of enough seats in the colleges, the government hasn’t taken any actions yet.
A web portal that would suggest students to other institutes and courses on the basis of their academic programme, college, and other data is being planned to be launched by the government. In addition to this, the government is trying to help students get their medical degrees from the foreign institutes themselves through an academic mobility program, which indicates that the students would complete their remaining degrees under NMC and receive certifications from the parent institutes of Ukraine.
Doctors are considered equal to God in a country like India, but this plight of Indian students is really disheartening. They are facing so many and so unexpected issues involving psychological, financial and mental aspects, which are so difficult to handle at this tender age as the students have to build their careers and live the best moments of their life while taking care of their parents and family simultaneously. Hence, this situation would pressure them a lot. To solve this issue, the government should provide both academic and mental health assistance to students. Also, the government should try to aid the students financially, and we, as citizens of India, should not look upon this as an issue of personal interest but should try to bring it into the limelight so that the matter is resolved as soon as possible.