China the next medical education hub for Indian students?
A significant number of Indian students are now opting for medical studies in China. However, there is always a worry about coming back to India after completion of studies since a MCI screening test will be done once they come back to India after finishing their degree course in China.
An Indian medical student in China, Arun Krishnan, with six years of medical studies, faces a similar dilemma now that he has to return to India next month.
Arun, 25, received his degree in medicine last week on Wednesday. Although he has a valid completion certificate, his dream of becoming a doctor in India has a small hurdle. He will have to face another exam back in India before he is considered for a decent job here.
With the difficulty in getting admission into medical colleges in India, more students are opting to study abroad in China to realize their dreams of becoming doctors.
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The Medical Council of India (MCI) screening test is the hurdle that worries Indian students studying medicine in China.
A person can study medicine abroad only in the universities that are approved by the Medical Council of India (MCI). Post their studies, even with a degree certificate from a university in China, these Indian students have to clear the FMGE screening test that is organized by the MCI. Barring a few countries like USA, UK and Australia, passing of the screening test is needed to become a doctor in India.
Arun Krishnan says, "Without passing the exam, it's impossible to work in a majority of hospitals in India, especially the government ones. Recently, some private hospitals started to employ these doctors but the pay is too low, there is no job security and in some cases it's also illegal."
He will be attending coaching classes for FMGE which will eventually take place in December.
Although there is a two-fold increase in the number of students taking the screening test from 2005 to 2015, the number of students clearing the test has dropped drastically from 50.12% to 10.7%. In 2014, the percentage dropped down to 4.93%, the lowest in history as reported by Times of India.
Many have even appealed to the Government to let go of the FMGE screening test or make it compulsory for students in India as well however there is no progress on that front.
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Chinese universities are however trying to help out the Indian students by bringing in Indian professors to help them prepare for the test.
Arun said, "Last year Guangzhou Medical University invited professors from DIAMS and MIST, two famous institutions in Delhi that provide coaching for preparation of the FMGE exam. They gave us classes about how to prepare for the FMGE exam and also invited to join their institutions. These were really helpful."
With all said and done, it is not easy for Indians to study in China. The two major issues that they face are food and language. Apart from their medical studies, Indian students have to take separate classes for Chinese and have to pass the HSK 4 exams to receive the degree.
Due to limited resources and time, many students are unable to enjoy or explore anything else in China apart from dutifully completing their medical studies, one of the regrets even Arun Krishnan has.