By N Madhav
Q&A with medical university officials, Ukraine
Ukraine, which sees good interest from Indian students as a destination for medical education and aviation engineering, is facing unrest in the country’s east, creating doubts in the minds of students.
Andre Rudy and Jyothir Mayananda at the International Admissions Processing Back-End Office for the medical universities of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, clear some of their doubts in an interview with N Madhav. Edited excerpts:
We do not maintain such data as we are predominantly into processing the admissions to the medical universities of the Ministry of Health, Ukraine. However, going by the admission figures, 50% of the students to the medical varsities are from India, and the figure is very high among eastern Ukrainian universities like Lugansk, Crimea and Kharkiv.
Historically, these universities had a high proportion of Indian students among foreign students. This can be attributed mostly to the work done by agents in promoting these universities in India for the last 10-12 years.
When does the academic year begin in Ukraine. Has there been any delay in the current year’s admission?
The academic year begins in the first week of September. Admissions are normal as of now. Students from Africa usually confirm their admissions from January to May. Indian students usually start late. This puts them at a disadvantage because they have to follow what the agents say and they end up joining universities like LSMU, KNMU and CSMU, instead of going for the best universities like Bogomolets National Medical University (BNMU) or National Pirogov Memorial Medical University (NPMMU) in the west.
Do you see a big drop in admissions from here in the current academic year?
It is possible that there will be a drop because Indians are very cautious in any case. We are unable to predict this because Indians usually process admissions through their agents instead of applying directly to universities like BNMU and NPMMU.
Any student requests for abandoning courses mid-way to return to India.
No, we don’t see much of this. Usually, some students who don’t want to study seriously try to leave, so they may make use of this reason to bunk. However, we see a lot of students applying for transfer to study at the BNMU in Kiev or the NPMMU in Vinnitsa, both located in western Ukraine where there are no problems.
In any case, these two universities have higher standards compared with east Ukrainian medical universities at Lugansk, Crimea and Donetsk. So, it is natural that students who have been studying at Ukraine for a while will realise this and want to transfer and this situation has further prompted this.
What are you advising students coming with such requests?
We would advice students to transfer to western Ukrainian universities of their choice. It’s not easy to get into BNMU or NPMMU but if they don’t have any arrears in their performance, they can apply to the international departments of these universities.
What is the impact of the current political crisis in the southern and eastern regions?
Any political turmoil and unrest or war-type scenario is likely to have an adverse impact on the foreigner visits. Strictly speaking at this point, the eastern universities being more vulnerable to the general situation have definitely been affected.
The ministerial departments are having problems in not being able to function properly due to Russian militia occupying the buildings etc. It is a difficult situation as it was created suddenly.
Although there were no specific situations against the Indian students, and the situation is common to all nationalities. The political ramifications of this Russian-created situation and how it can affect the life in these eastern Ukraine is still not clear.
Are students facing any problems in the Crimean peninsula universities?
There are no problems as such in terms of being discriminated or by way of classes not being conducted. The professors at the university do realise the importance of education and have been conducting classes. However, the problem of recognition of the degrees from Crimea remains.
Is the Medical Council of India (MCI) still recognising the degrees awarded by universities located in Crimea. Would the Unesco, the European Association of Universities and the European Union recognise them?
I think you must ask this question to the MCI. However, it is possible that western European and American universities and medical councils would not recognise these degree offered by Russia unless the EU adopts a legislation to recognise Crimea as a part of Russia.
What steps the Ukrainian government had taken to allay the fears of overseas students?
The overseas student community in Ukraine is well aware their university management and professors always support and reassure them. So, they have generally not had any issues with the universities.
It may not be wise for the government to issue statements to this effect because the purpose of this whole conflict is predominantly to destabilise the country and if the education sector is perceived as a target (as a result of a government statement etc), it will not benefit anyone other than the Russian government.
Universities in Central Asia, East Europe and Russia have been wooing students from India and other Asian countries. Do you see Ukraine at a disadvantage this time?
Ukraine is well-established as an extremely reliable destination for quality medical education, problem-free living conditions and good recognition for the degrees all over Europe and the world. At this point, students can choose western Ukrainian universities for their studies and they would not have any issues. (Business Standard)