April 22IssueOpinion

A Not so Good Idea to Study on Foreign Shores

Indian medical students are at a loss in foreign countries when some crisis happens and it takes a toll on their medical education. Despite a good number of institutes in the country, students should think twice before venturing into those countries. An insight by Dr Naresh Shetty, President – Healthcare Vertical, Quess Corp

Against the backdrop of the Russia Ukraine war, several Indian students studying in Ukraine were stuck and had to come back to India. A majority of the students were in a dilemma as to how to complete their course as the study pattern is different from what is taught in Ukraine and India.


Students studying in China, Russia, Ukraine and other countries are not adequately trained and hence would
require both theories as well as clinical skill training. There is a huge gap in training and the results are good
indicators. However, an effort must be made to give them a six months internship training in our setup and
then only allow them to appear for an exam. This will enable them to be more relevant to the needs of the community.

Why are students venturing into those countries?
It may be noted that despite the quality of education being poor in those countries, students still flock to these
countries. For those looking to study medicine, there are also limited seats available in Indian medical institutions, with approximately 1.5 million students taking their NEET exams hoping to obtain one of the around 65,000 medical seats available every year. For this reason, around 300,000 Indian students currently study abroad, with an estimated 10,000 leaving India every year to study medicine.Some of the students get admitted to well-respected and globally recognised universities abroad while most apply and get admitted to unrecognised
institutions. However, the ideal scenario for many would be to remain in India for as long as possible and study for a medical degree that is recognised and highly respected internationally, especially in countries where healthcare is well-advanced, innovative, and wellfunded, like the US.

Mentioning the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE), there are quite a few quick-fix private set
ups that train these students to pass the exams. It is a lot like tuition classes which have mushroomed all across and who train them not on any practical skills but by making them go through earlier question papers. Passing FMGE does not mean they have enough skill. AHPI along with a few hospitals wanted to start an internship programme for these students so that they are better skilled but the pandemic put that on the backburner.

The appeal of choosing medicine as a career is a strong one. A career in medicine empowers you to help people, to be respected by others and gain a feeling of job satisfaction that is impossible to find in any other
profession. The financial rewards may not be great but the opportunities for career advancement are vast and
varied. However, a bulk of the students that leave our shores have not been able to get through the NEET exams and take any opportunity available. There are agents for all these universities who paint a rosy picture to the students and their parents. Most of them do not even realise that passing the FMGE exams is mandatory and not easy. By and large, most of the universities in China and Russia where these students tend to go, do not have an education comparable to India or the western world.

With many states opening new medical colleges in every district there would be more opportunities in this country and a lot more Allied Sciences courses. It is time that students should embrace them rather than only MBBS seats. The need for Para Medical staff is huge and increasing every year. With the advent of technology, we need perhaps fewer doctors but more technologists who will assist the Healthcare workers to serve better and safer.The pandemic has seen thousands of students have to return from China and are stuck without much hope. The Ukraine war saw another huge number returning to India. The clamour of taking them into our system is fraught with a lot of risks since most of them are not NEET qualified and very soon will become a legal issue for many who could not afford to go to other countries but are still deprived of staying within the country.

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