May 30, 2008

Thinking of Russia beyond medicine?

Is it possible to think of Russia as an education destination beyond medical degrees? It doesn't seem so till the time the Indian government, Medical Council of India (MCI) and Russian government arrive on a consensus related to the acceptance of Russian medical degrees in India. A seminar organised by the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and the Russian Centre of International Studies to explore educational ties with Indian universities became a debating ground to discuss issues related to the validity of a Russian medical degree.

Russia has been a preferred destination for Indian students to pursue MBBS degrees. But the MCI does not allow those with Russian degrees to practice in India without clearing a screening test. For quite some time, Indian doctors from Russia and MCI have been in a tussle over this issue. "My son pursued a medical degree from Russia and we spent a lot of money, but now he is not able to practice in India," said a concerned parent present at the seminar.

"It is true that many Indian students face problems after they return from Russia with a medical degree. They have to appear for a screening test. Even after that they have to work as an intern for at least one year. Moreover, an MD from Russia is only considered an MBBS in India," informed Ramadhikari Kumar, rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He advised students to verify the Russian institute's validity with MCI to be on the safer side.

Abhai Maurya, vice-chancellor, The English and Foreign languages University, while tracing the genesis of the problem said, "Earlier, only good students used to go to Russia to pursue a degree. But at the time of disintegration of USSR, all kinds of students started going to Russia in lure of attaining a foreign degree which actually created the need for a screening test." Both Kumar and Maurya, however, agreed that Russia had a long tradition of producing world-class professionals in fields like aviation and power engineering.

Dmitry V Bazhenov, vice-rector of Tver State Medical Academy and a member of the Russian Academy of Medical Science, while refuting the concerns raised by parents present at the seminar said, "Russian medical institutes have a long history of producing world class doctors. Even MCI recognises 12 medical institutes from Russia. It is a rule in India to appear for a screening test after doing a foreign degree and after you clear that you can easily practice. Besides, our institute houses around 600 Indian students at present."

"We agree that the issue of Russian medical degrees is very sensitive and both governments should sit together and take steps to solve this problem," said Sergey V Cherkas, deputy director, Russian Centre of Science and Culture.

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