Over the past year and a half, the world has been fighting the pandemic in their own ways, with some who are yet to open up their borders a large majority of international travellers. Indian medical students who have been enrolled in MBBS programmes in Chinese Universities have been stuck since the start of the pandemic. While online or remote learning has been the go-to option among universities across the world, medical education, especially in China, requires practical lessons and work to complete the programme. With Indian students unable to travel back to the country, worries about their ability to complete their studies have risen ten-fold.
To help return to their universities in China, Indian students have now sent a letter to PM Modi, addressing the issues and requesting the government to intervene and convince the Chinese government in taking back the students.
In the letter, 25,000 Indian students studying Chinese universities have attended online classes for the past 17 months, as a result of the visa and travel restrictions. Medical students highlighted the importance of practical and group work to their degree. As per Chinese medical education standards, graduating MBBS students are required to complete a 52-week physical internship in specifically assigned hospitals, which consequently leads to them receiving their respective degrees.
While students from South Korea and China have been allowed to return to campus, others are still completing their courses online. Many international students have missed out on practical lessons, which form a big part of their programme and learning. On the other hand, students in their first, second and third years are completing their courses online, last year MBBS students suffer as they are unable to complete their physical internship, which can only be possible under present circumstances after the lockdowns have been lifted.
India Asks China to Offer Visas to Students Meeting Travel Criteria
On 10th June 2021, India spoke to China regarding the issuance of visa to Indian Nationals. As per sources, India told China to offer visas to Indian nationals who adhere to the Chinese visa requirements, outlined by Beijing, which included being vaccinated with Chinese-made jabs, to help students and workers return to their studies and jobs in the country.
In a statement released by Arindam Bagchi, the spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry, the government has been taken steps to ensure the interests of Indian nationals working or studying abroad are protected. As a result of the pandemic, these Indian nationals have been unable to pursue their studies or career since they have been stuck in the country.
Along with students who have been unable to travel to China, Bagchi revealed that the government was in contact with the concerned governments worldwide, to help students and workers resume their studies/work in the respective countries.
Bagchi revealed that the Indian nationals are yet to travel back to the country to resume their work or studies in China, since November 2020. While China has approved Chinese nationals to travel to India even though there is no direct connectivity, Indian nationals are yet to hear about their approval to enter the country.
Bagchi commented that the Indian nationals working and/or studying in the country, have not been able to travel back since last November, as the Chinese government had suspended the existing visas. Bagchi added that the Embassy of China had released a notification announcing visas for all those receiving the Chinese-made vaccines.