‘Medical students returning from Ukraine cannot automatically be offered admissions in Indian medical colleges’

Medical students returning from war-hit Ukraine cannot automatically be offered admissions in Indian medical colleges, but authorities are exploring options to ensure that they can continue with their learning, Lt Gen (retd) Dr Madhuri Kanitkar, vice-chancellor of the Nashik-based Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), has said.

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“We cannot immediately place these students in our colleges. There are students who have got into these (Indian) colleges on merit, and the entry standards there cannot be diluted. The students who are returning from Ukraine have opted for universities that have a different system of teaching and curriculum. However, till such time that these (Ukrainian) universities open up again, we are trying to explore options where the students can continue their learning and training,” Dr Kanitkar told The Indian Express.

“Any decision to rehabilitate or help students cannot be taken in isolation by universities. The National Medical Commission is looking at ways and means to address this issue. However, we are trying to look at possibilities to ensure that the returning students are stress-free and also continue to learn what is relevant presently,” she said.

Dr Kanitkar said data on the returning students was being compiled, and more than 100 returning students had already registered themselves on the MUHS website.

“We had invited information and a form was provided on the MUHS website. Over 100 students have registered themselves there right now,” she said.

Dr Kanitkar said, after the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine crisis was the second wake-up call for the medical education system in India.

“Unlike some other courses, medicine cannot be taught online, without patients and hospitals. More ideas are being generated about the use of digital technology in medical education. We are also assessing what the shortcomings are at various universities offering medical courses. However, we cannot dilute our standards,” she said.

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