Battle for future

A young woman from the small town of Harda in Madhya Pradesh went to another small town, Poltava, in Ukraine six years ago to study medicine. The town is 500 km from the eastern Russian border and may soon be invaded. Last spoken to a week ago, she told her mother that she does not want to come home. She has just two months left to complete her MBBS course and she hopes things will somehow work out for her. Her father is a poor Government teacher and she does not want to return without her degree after spending so much money. Her family wants her back home, worried about her safety. She is worried about losing her degree more than her life. We have no information about this girl at the time of writing and we hope that she is safe and evacuated at once. Her desperation is touching. This desperation is shared by thousands of Indian students as they return home from Ukraine, totally blank about what the future holds for them. What will they do? They have vague answers. The Union Government will have to step in today or tomorrow to ensure that their careers are not destroyed. Those studying in western Ukraine say their classes are online for the time being as the region is relatively safe from strife. But what about the summer practice session in June-July? They are clueless.

Their universities have told them to pay the fees in advance by the first week of March, saying they will update them along the way. Some students in western Ukraine bought round trip tickets, hoping they would be back sooner or later. In eastern Ukraine, the situation is really bad. All educational institutes are closed. The students say their teachers left the respective cities at the first hint of tension and, since then, they are in the dark. In any case, they are right now desperate to save their lives and get out from there. They have a vague hope that historically, universities survive wars and that their classes will resume once the political imbroglio is resolved. The parents will soon be voicing their concerns about their wards’ future. They are sure to ask the Union Government if the students can somehow complete the remaining course duration from Indian colleges by passing a test or arranging for a transfer of credits. Those in the first and second years still have the chance of starting afresh in another college in another country if they can afford it and if Ukraine’s future hangs in balance. It is the seniors who will lose the most if they cannot return to their universities at least by this year-end. It is not just about completing the course. They have also to complete a 12-month supervised internship and repeat the process when they return to India. They will then have to pass the eligibility test to be able to get registered.