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Students called back to campuses in China

Issuance of visa, suspended after Covid outbreak, has resumed after Centre’s intervention

Sanjay Mandal | Published 03.01.23, 07:17 AM
Representational image

Representational image

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Several universities in China have started calling back Indian students and many from Kolkata who are pursuing medical courses there have already reached that country.

There are others who have received no-objection certificates and visa from China and are hoping to join in-person classes soon, despite a fresh surge in Covid cases there.


China, which had suspended issuing visas nearly three years ago because of Covid, has resumed the process for Indian students following an intervention from the Centre.

Around 23,000 Indian students study in China and most of them pursue medical courses.

Since March 2020, following the outbreak of Covid, the students enrolled with Chinese medical colleges have been attending online classes.

“The university permits his/her to return campus to continue his/her studies, and the returning time will be announced in another notice,” reads a letter from Kunming Medical University to a student in Kolkata. 

Many other students of the institute and those of other medical universities in China have got similar invitations to rejoin in-person classes.

According to some students who are still in Kolkata and planning to go to China next month, many students reached China in the second week of December and are now in quarantine.

Students arriving in China now have to stay in quarantine in two phases, said some of the students. The government’s quarantine programme is for eight days, which is followed by a six-day quarantine programme of the respective universities.

China, however, announced on December 26 that travellers from overseas would not be required to enter quarantine upon arrival from January 8. But they will be required to show a negative PCR test performed within 48 hours before departure.    

“I am looking forward to re-join classes. Although online classes were continuing, we were missing out on practical classes which are very vital. Now, the university authorities are telling us that they would first complete the practical classes, which could not be held for three years, and then start our internship programme,” said a final-year student of a Chinese medical university.

He is scheduled to go to China in February.

Students from West Bengal enrolled in medical colleges in China were not allowed by the state government to attend practical classes at West Bengal’s medical colleges. 

“The National Medical Council does not acknowledge online medical courses. So attending practical classes in-person is extremely important for us if we want to practice in India,” said one student.

Medical students with degrees from abroad have to appear for the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination to be eligible to practice in India.

The Chinese universities are calling back students in batches because of several factors. “We have winter holidays and spring festival in China. So everything will be closed now,” said a student from south Kolkata.

“Also, the university authorities have told us that because of the quarantine norms, there will be problems with accommodation if all students are called back together,” he said.

Most students said many of their teachers in China were Covid positive but none is in hospital.

“Many are taking online classes from home, where they are in isolation,” said one student.

Last updated on 03.01.23, 07:17 AM

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