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Indian students offered admissions by Russian unis, scammers after fleeing Ukraine

Study options for students fleeing the war in Ukraine
Universities in Russia, Crimea, Poland, and other neighbouring countries have offered placements for Indian students who were forced to flee Ukraine. Source: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP

Russian universities are now offering a solution for students who fled the war in Ukraine and had their studies halted prematurely. The Economic Times reports that universities in Russia and Crimea have made contact with education counsellors in India and international students, especially those who are enrolled in medical programmes. These universities are reportedly offering placements with no extra costs and entrance exams. 

Other neighbouring countries such as Kazakhstan, Poland, Belarus, and Moldova have extended similar assistance for students to transfer into their universities so they could resume their studies. The Nicolae Testemitanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy (SUMP) in Moldova, for instance, has admitted 140 Indian students who crossed into the country from Ukraine when Russian forces invaded the country, according to The Economic Times. 

“As a gesture of friendship, we will not charge them for this semester and only start fees from September. We have more capacity and we are open to taking students of first, second and third year into the same year so that there is no loss of time,” Dr. Cornelia Rudoi, a representative from the university was quoted saying.

The gesture comes at a time when Indian medical students who safely escaped the war in Ukraine are at a loss over their next steps. To this day, there is still no clear directive from the Indian government on whether they can integrate their courses into the medical programmes in India — a dilemma shared by Indian medical students who are locked out of Chinese universities due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.  

Although Ukrainian universities have resumed classes online amid the ongoing conflict, distance learning isn’t a viable option for Indian students. The National Medical Commission had previously announced that they would not recognise any medical degrees done entirely online. Medical graduates from foreign institutions must also complete their clinical training in the same institution that they graduated from. This leaves medical students who are stuck out of Ukraine and China with little choice but to wait out their situation, or transfer to a university abroad. 

Commenting on Russia’s offer to absorb Indian students, Mahendra Zaware Patil, a counsellor who works with public medical universities, remarked that students seek to transfer to a “safe and stable” country after witnessing the war in Ukraine firsthand.

Study options for students fleeing the war in Ukraine

Indian medical students evacuated from Ukraine are now in a pickle over their future study plans as local universities have not offered any transfer options for courses completed in the war-torn country. Source: Prakash Singh/AFP

Indian students bombarded with scammers after evacuation from the war in Ukraine

As if Indian medical students who escaped the war in Ukraine haven’t gone through enough, they must now face an upsurge of scammers touting unverified promises of career and educational opportunities, according to India’s Outlook Magazine. Offers from unrecognised institutions and agents have begun popping up on student WhatsApp groups, hoping to lure vulnerable Indian students into dubious educational schemes.

The messages have reportedly enticed students to enter medical schools in countries like Poland, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, among others, claiming that their credit transfers will be accepted if they choose to make the move. “Due to the present situation, the government of Hungary offers you the possibility to stay in Hungary and continue your studies here,” read a letter from a so-called “counsellor” that had been circulating in the popular messaging app.

A separate newspaper advertisement claimed that a private medical university “exempted from the regulatory control of any council including National Medical Commission” is opening its doors to admit students affected by the situation. 

“They say that they are ready to adjust the fee that we have already paid in our college in Ukraine. We do not know how genuine these offers are,” a second-year Indian student who escaped the war in Ukraine told the magazine. “Many students, who have taken admission this year and haven’t started their studies yet are thinking of dropping out of Ukraine and accepting one of such offers.”

Shikhar Ranjan, a regulator at the Medical Council of India, counselled students against falling prey to fraudulent schemes, and iterated that no local institution is exempt from the regulations of the National Medical Commission.

“Students should stay away from such offers and not put their lives in peril. They can never get a licence to practise medicine if they obtain degrees from institutions that do not have NMC approval,” Ranjan was quoted saying.