Ukraine returnee medical students will not be admitted to Indian colleges
In a setback for the thousands of Indian undergraduate medical students who were studying in Ukraine but were forced to return due to the conflict with Russia, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that there are no legal provisions in place to allow them to be accommodated in local medical colleges.
The National Medical Commission (NMC) has not yet approved the transfer or housing of any foreign medical students at any Indian medical institutes or universities, the Center claimed in an affidavit.
In a group of petitions submitted by undergraduate medical students in their first through fourth years at various overseas medical colleges and institutions, who are principally seeking transfer to medical colleges in India in their respective semesters, the government filed its response.
"It is humbly submitted that in so far as such students are concerned, there are no such provisions either under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 or the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 as well as the Regulations to accommodate or transfer medical students from any foreign medical institutes/colleges to Indian medical colleges", the government said.
However, it stated that in order to help and support these returning students who were unable to complete their MBBS programmes in Ukraine, NMC in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has issued a Public Notice dated September 6, 2022, indicating that NMC would accept completion of their remaining programmes abroad (with the approval of parent university/Institution in Ukraine).
The government stated that the parent institutions in Ukraine are expected to award the certificate, completion, or degree after they have finished their remaining courses.
According to the students' claims, it is unclear whether Indian universities fall under the category of "universities in different countries globally" even though the public notice from September 6 states that there is no opposition to the academic mobility programme, which involves temporarily relocating the affected foreign students in different foreign countries around the world.
According to the government, these students have alleged that their respective Ukrainian Medical Universities turned them down when they applied under the academic mobility programme for academic mobility in the first semester of the academic year 2022–2023.
"It is humbly submitted that the aforesaid affidavit (of the student) is completely frivolous and misleading. It is submitted that in so far as the aforesaid academic mobility program is concerned, the same was introduced only for those students, who were not able to continue their education due to war like situation in Ukraine", the Centre said.
It further stated that the word "global mobility" in the public notice dated September 6 should not be taken to suggest housing these students in Indian colleges or universities because current Indian policies do not authorise student immigration from foreign universities to India.