India asks China to inform Indian students of strict rules to practice medicine

Beijing to ensure Indian medical students are educated, trained, facilitated to comply with the strict rules issued by NMC to practice in India.

India asks China to inform Indian students of strict rules to practice medicine China to inform Indian students of strict rules to practice medicine. (Picture: Shutterstock)
Press Trust of India | Nov 7, 2022 - 9:14 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: China said on Monday it has given visas to 1,300 stranded Indian students to rejoin their studies even as India has asked Beijing to ensure that the Indian medical students are educated, trained, and facilitated to comply with the stringent regulations issued by the National Medical Commission (NMC) to practice back home.

At least 1,300 Indian students have already been granted visas to come to study in China, as people-to-people exchanges between the two countries have made progress in overcoming the epidemic, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here. He was replying to a question on reports that 40 Chinese universities have yet to issue no objection certificates for Indian students for them to apply for Chinese visas.

Zhao said that the communication channels between Indian students and Chinese universities are smooth, and advised Indian students to be in close contact with their universities and return for their studies in an orderly manner according to the arrangements of their varsities. Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy said it has apprised the Chinese officials concerned of the recent stringent regulations issued by the NMC for Indian students studying in Chinese medical colleges to obtain permission to practice back home.

Also Read | Indian students returning to re-join Chinese colleges to register with embassy of India in China

In September, the embassy issued a detailed advisory for prospective Indian students wanting to study medicine in China, cautioning them of pitfalls, including poor pass percentage, mandatory learning of Putonghua, and stringent norms to qualify to practice in India. According to official estimates, over 23,000 Indian students are currently enrolled in Chinese universities. A vast majority of them were studying medicine. After over two years of COVID-19 visa restrictions, China recently started issuing visas to select a number of students to return.

According to informed sources, over 350 students have returned to rejoin their colleges. Most of them struggled to return as there are no direct flights and the two countries are still in talks to work out limited flight facilities, keeping in view Beijing's quarantine restrictions. The Chinese medical colleges, meanwhile, began enrolment for new students from India and abroad. In view of this development, the Indian embassy here issued a comprehensive advisory on September 10, highlighting stringent norms they face to qualify for practice in India, which included obtaining a licence to practice in China.

The embassy in its press release on Monday said it has apprised the Chinese authorities concerned and medical colleges with a request that they ensure that all Indian students coming to China for clinical medicine programmes are educated, trained, and facilitated so that they can fulfill the requirements of NMC. Any student, who joins a clinical medicine programme in China after November 2021 and fails to obtain a licence to practise as a medical doctor in China, will be rendered ineligible to appear for Foreign Medical Graduate Examination , it said. The embassy continues to receive queries from prospective Indian students as well as their parents regarding eligibility for Indian students who are pursuing clinical medicine programmes in China to appear in the qualifying examination conducted by NMC, it said. The students and their parents are requested to see the Gazette Notification dated November 18, 2021 by the NMC, it said.

Also Read | Indian medical students in China who fail to get practising license ineligible for FMGE: Embassy of India

"It has unambiguously stated in Clause 4(b) that foreign medical students must be registered with the respective professional regulatory body or otherwise, competent to grant a licence to practice medicine in their respective jurisdiction of the country in which the medical degree is awarded and at par with the licence to practice medicine given to a citizen of that country, it said. The embassy has also approached relevant Chinese authorities to confirm that Indian students can work in Chinese hospitals in a capacity such as "assistant doctors".

Another related query was whether Indian students can work in Chinese hospitals in a capacity such as "assistant doctors" after completing their medical education in China but fail to obtain a medical practitioner licence in China so as to enable them to earn a living and pay back their education loans. In its advisory issued in September, the Indian embassy said only 16 per cent of the Indian students passed between 2015-21 to qualify to practice in India. A study shows that only 6,387 out of 40,417 students, who appeared in FMG (Foreign Medical Graduate) Examination of the Medical Council of India, (MCI) from 2015 to 2021 have cleared the test, it said.

On the costs, it said the fee structure is different for different universities and advised students to check from the university directly before admission. The advisory has listed 45 medical colleges designated by the Chinese government to provide medical degrees in five-year duration plus a one-year internship. Indian students are advised not to seek admission other than the 45 colleges in China. "The Chinese government has clearly mentioned in their official communication that foreign students can only join medical programmes in 45 universities in the English language,” it said. After completion of the internship, students have to clear the Chinese Medical qualification examination and obtain a physician qualification certificate to practice in China, it said.

Also Read | India issues advisory outlining risks for students planning to study medicine in China

It is important to clear the qualification exam to practice in India as the NMC regulations dated November 18, 2021 state that any prospective student who seeks medical education abroad should necessarily have a licence to practice in the country of a graduate after completion of his/her clinical medicine programme before he/she can appear for FMG examination in India, it said. Also, Indian students who are interested in taking a medical qualification from China are required to clear the NEET-UG (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Undergraduate) exam, which is the entrance examination for undergraduate medical education in India, as a prerequisite to pursue medical education abroad, the September advisory said.

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