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Take Ukraine-returned students in medical colleges: IMA urges PM

The decisions on how to accommodate them at the institutes would need to be taken by the NMC, which regulates medical education and practice in India
Representational image.
Representational image.

G.S. Mudur   |   New Delhi   |   Published 05.03.22, 01:08 AM

India’s largest body of doctors on Friday asked the Centre to accommodate in India’s medical colleges the Indian MBBS students evacuated from Ukraine as a “one-time measure”, citing the uncertainty over their education.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that these students should be distributed among the country’s medical colleges taking into account the geographical location suited to each student. After graduating, they should be considered Indian medical graduates and not foreign medical graduates.


The measure should be a “one-time exception, not to be quoted as precedence (sic) or construed as an increase in the annual intake of the medical colleges”, said the letter, copied to Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

More than 15,000 Indian students in different years of their undergraduate medical education are among those who have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country last month. The IMA has asked the Centre to view them as “helpless” and “heavily victimised” for no fault of theirs.

The decisions on whether and how to accommodate these students at Indian medical colleges would need to be taken by the National Medical Commission (NMC), which regulates medical education and practice in India.

“The NMC will discuss this — we’ll take a sympathetic view given the circumstances,” said Shivkumar Utture, president of the Maharashtra Medical Council and a member of the NMC.

“We’ll need to consider the differences in the structures of undergraduate medical education between Ukraine and India and the logistics of accommodating several thousand students into the existing medical colleges,” Utture said.

He said the sequence of subjects taught in the course curriculum, and the number of years prescribed for undergraduate study, could be different in Ukraine from what it is in India.

India has more than 550 medical colleges that each year enrol over 84,000 MBBS students. Of these 84,000 seats, over 43,000 are distributed across 284 government medical colleges.

If 15,000 students from Ukraine need to be accommodated uniformly across all the government medical colleges, each college would receive around 50 students — distributed among the different years of the five-year MBBS course.

“We’ll have to see just how this can be done,” an NMC member said.

Seat counts in medical colleges are regulated to ensure that no college exceeds the number of students who can be appropriately trained given the college’s number of teachers and the size of its associated hospital.

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