China MBBS graduates losing hope after being denied internship153 students have suffered because China is not permitting them re-entry citing the pandemic while the Nepal government is not willing to allow them internship opportunities here.
Despite non-stop protests by students, the government continues to deny internship opportunities to over 150 Nepali MBBS students from various Chinese universities.
As many as 153 students who have completed their theory courses from various Chinese universities haven’t been able to complete their study as the northern neighbour hasn’t allowed them to return to the country citing the Covid-19 pandemic. The students had returned home in early 2020 following an outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. They completed their theory education online and the respective universities have already issued the certificates.
However, they haven’t got their MBBS degree due to lack of internship experience. An MBBS student needs a year of internship after five years of study. The students enrolled in 2015 and 2016 have suffered because China is not permitting them re-entry while the Nepal government is not willing to allow them internship opportunities here.
With no prospect of China allowing them to return to their universities anytime soon, the students have been in continuous protest demanding that they should be allowed to intern in Nepali hospitals. However, a meeting led by Education Minister Devendra Poudel on Friday decided to take diplomatic initiatives to ensure they get to complete their study [internship] from their respective universities.
“The meeting has decided to use diplomatic channels to make sure the students get to continue their studies in their universities,” reads the statement issued by the ministry. The students, however, say the government decision makes no sense as the Chinese government won’t allow them re-entry anytime soon.
“We are in regular touch with the university authority. They say our entry is uncertain,” a student from Dali University in Yunnan Province who completed his five-years of study in June, told the Post. “The government, despite knowing that China won’t allow us in, took the decision.”
Nepal, until 2007, had been allowing Nepali MBBS graduates from foreign countries to intern in Nepal. However, the Nepal Medical Council banned the practice in May of that year. The council said students who have not completed their internships in the countries where they studied, would not be allowed to apply for a medical practice licence in Nepal.
The council’s license is a must for medical practice in Nepal. The Medical Education Commission in October called applications from all the students saying they will be allowed to intern in Nepal. However, only those students who had taken one year of Chinese language course in addition to five years of study were given internship opportunities.
China was the most preferred destination for Nepali students to study medicine until the government decided to bar Nepali students studying abroad from doing internships in Nepal. Now, most students travel to Bangladesh for MBBS studies.
The education consultancies who facilitated the students to get enrolled in the Chinese universities say most of the universities have embedded Chinese language in the five years course where the language is taught along with the core course. “There is no additional one-year language course in most of the universities,” Milan Gyawali, managing director at Speed International Education Consultancy. “The students get the certificates of language study but the Nepal government is not accepting such certificates.”
The students say the officials at the council are asking them to study in medical colleges in Nepal for a year if they want to intern in Nepal. “We have already paid for five year’s study. We cannot afford to pay for one more year,” said the student, claiming that the council officials have warned them to abandon the protests and not to talk to the media. “We are being compelled to wait for the Chinese government to open its borders or study in Nepal.”