Central Asia, East Europe beckon Indian studentsJune 15th, 2010 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS
By Anjali Ojha
New Delhi, June 15 (IANS) With admission to state-run Indian medical colleges difficult and private ones charging exorbitant fees, hundreds of Indian students are heading for Central Asian and East European countries to pursue medical courses. Among the preferred destinations is Kyrgyzstan, where many Indian students got trapped amidst ethnic violence.
“It is not a choice, students are helpless so they have to opt for these countries,” said Balraj Gupta, a cardiologist who works with a leading agency sending students abroad.
According to the Kyrgyz embassy, there are around 200 Indian students in that country, mostly pursuing medical courses. Eastern European countries are also popular destinations.
“Medical education is very expensive in India. Getting admission in government colleges is very difficult and private colleges charge very high fees,” Gupta told IANS.
“Admission through ‘management quota’ costs as high as Rs.40 lakh (Rs.4 million). Since capitation fee is banned, this is the term to use,” he said.
In contrast, the entire course costs barely around Rs.12 lakh (Rs.1.2 million) in countries like Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. These also have easier norms for education and cheaper courses.
These countries offer direct admission in medical courses claiming the degrees are recognised in India. Ukraine recently put up a big stall at an education fair here to woo Indian students.
However, according to the Medical Council of India (MCI) norms, an Indian student with a degree from a foreign college has to pass its exam in order to practice in India.
“Any Indian citizen possessing a primary medical qualification awarded by any medical institution outside India needs to qualify a screening test conducted by the council to get provisional or permanent registration with MCI or any State Medical Council,” an official told IANS.
Gupta says a degree from abroad has become the easiest route for students.
“Once you have a medical degree, you can practice in India after clearing the MCI exam. Even doctors are sending their children to study medical courses in these countries because it is a lot easier,” he said.
A representative from another Delhi-based agency facilitating studies abroad told IANS that these countries offered commission as high as 20 percent for sending students.
According to education consultant Rajesh Agarwal, students opt for these countries for medical courses because admission is difficult in European and American countries.
“For technical courses like engineering and MBA, students prefer Britain or the US. But admission in medical courses is difficult in these places,” he said.
“In East European countries like Georgia, Belgium, Romania and Poland that have Indian students, a majority are pursuing medical courses.”
Agreeing that medical courses are becoming popular with Indian students, the Romanian embassy said the friendly atmosphere in Romania was a leading attraction.
“Romania is culturally closer to India than West Europe or America,” a Romanian diplomat told IANS. “The universities are good, the atmosphere and the cities are good, Indian students find themselves comfortable.”
On their part, students see these countries as an opportunity for getting better medical education.
Aliprita Chauhan said she chose Georgia to pursue medical course because of better facilities.
“Indian students are there mostly for medical courses,” she said. “Unlike many European countries where there is racism, students are comfortable in Georgia. People are gradually becoming aware of India and Indian culture.”
Gupta feels that the trend needs to be controlled by improving medical education system in India.
“The need of the hour is to revamp the education system in India. Let’s hope things get better with the new medical council,” he said.
This year, more than 150,000 students gave the Central Board of Secondary Education-run Pre-Medical Test prelim examination. Of them, just 14,000 were selected for the main examination. The total number of seats available through the PMT exams is around 1,600.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which conducts its own examination, has only 50 seats on offer for the thousands who take the exam.
The MCI recognises 273 medical colleges with a total capacity of absorbing 31,298 students every year.
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