Medical students studying in Chinese univs approach UN for help to be able to get back to their colleges
After receiving no positive response from the government of China regarding the temporary visa ban on foreigners, medical students pursuing their degree in Chinese universities have now approached the United Nations hoping for a positive development.
In a letter signed by over 20,000 medical, graduate and undergraduate school students studying in universities in China, Japan and Australia, students have urged UN to intervene in the matter and help lift border restrictions, which has left thousands of students stranded in their home countries for the past one year.
“We are all attending academic institutions in the said countries but, due to the current border restrictions implemented because of Covid-19 concerns, we are unable to pursue our education properly. While medical students are struggling with practical surgical classes being held online, PhD students are unable to access labs in their host countries and the language barrier is getting worse while studying online,” said a statement released by these students.
After spending a year back home due to the Covid-19 imposed lockdown around the world, the recent statement released by the Chinese government still gives no clear deadline on when the entry restriction for international students holding study visa ends. In a statement made public on March 22 by the Indian Embassy in Beijing, China, the embassy has clarified that the recent decision of the Chinese government related to visa facilitation for foreigners visiting China does not apply to foreign students.
“Chinese authorities at various levels continue to maintain their position that, on account of last year’s announcement by ministry of foreign affairs of the People’s Republic of China to suspend temporarily the entry of foreigners holding valid Chinese visa and residence permits following the outbreak Covid-19 in many countries, the visa suspension on foreigners stays until further notice,” states the official statement released by the embassy.
Students are now worried about their future. A third-year student from Jianghan University in Wuhan, said, “Most of us want to withdraw our admission from China and continue our education elsewhere. However, the National Medical Commission (NMC) of India mandates that we finish our course from the institute we got admitted to.” Apart from theory, colleges are now holding practicals online. “Our seniors are being taught surgery online,” she added.
According to data from the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), in 2018 and 2019 China received around 500,000 international students each, the third highest in the world after the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK).
Official data shows that in 2018, over 23,000 Indian students were enrolled in various programmes in China. Indians represent the fourth largest group of international students in China, after South Koreans, Thais and Pakistanis.
“Many of us were scheduled to arrive to our host countries before the April term, and have been forced to leave our jobs, apartments and belongings in the host countries…Given the circumstance, it is wise to allow only essential travel and with proper care and quarantine, these host countries can easily bring back their students and allow us to pursue our education physically along with our batchmates from the host country,” said the statement released by students.