Traditionally, countries such as China, Russia and Ukraine have remained the top destinations for Indian students aspiring to pursue bachelor’s in medicine. Most medical education aspirants look to study overseas due to the dearth of seats in undergraduate medical programs in India, the high cost of medical education and strict competition for admission into institutes offering quality medical education.
But with the ongoing socio-political, economic and health scenarios in countries known for offering quality, affordable medical education, the trend could go in favour of less popular destinations such as Germany, the UK, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Spain. The shift could come in the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and China’s stringent policy of not allowing students from India amid its current COVID-19 crisis.
- As of July 2021, China was the top destination for medical aspirants from India with more than 23,000 students enrolled studying there.
- Indian government data points out that a majority of medical students in China, who were enrolled in undergraduate degree courses, returned home after the pandemic-induced restrictions.
- About 18,000 Indian students were studying MBBS in Russia and Ukraine before the crisis began. The war has had a serious impact on potential students.
Until a few months back, China has been the top destination for medical aspirants from India with more than 23,000 students studying there, as of July 2021, as per data from the Government of India. A majority of these 23,000 students were enrolled in Chinese higher education institutions to pursue an undergraduate degree in medicine but most of them had to return home after the pandemic-induced restrictions.
But China’s strict policy on not allowing Indian medical students to its campuses has redirected the focus of aspirants to other countries. Similarly, Russia and Ukraine, which had 16,500 and 18,000 Indian students overall, including MBBS students, also had an impact on potential students, due to the ongoing war.
With China, Russia and Ukraine out of the picture for some time, Indian students are now considering other destinations that weren’t the first choices. For instance, more number of aspirants are now considering moving to Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Kazakhstan, The Philippines, Georgia, Armenia, the UK, Spain and even neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh to pursue undergraduate medical courses. Many of these countries offer cheaper medical education as compared to India.
As of July 2021, Kyrgyzstan had 10,000 Indian students enrolled in its higher education institutions, Germany had 20,810; Kazakhstan 5,300; The Philippines 15,000; Georgia 7,500; Armenia 3,000; the UK 55,465; Spain 1,500; Nepal 2,200 and Bangladesh 5,200.
However, in the past one year, a much has changed. The number of Indian students in Kyrgyzstan increased to 14,500, as of March 2022. On the other hand, Germany saw a considerable rise of up to 34,864.
Also, the number of Indian students in Georgia have nearly doubled so far with figures standing at 14,000 until March 2022. Whereas, Armenia had 8,015 Indian students, up from 3,000 in July 2021. Many universities offer scholarships for MBBS abroad and students can check with the universities individually for details.
These numbers reflect a growing shift in the choices of Indian medical aspirants abroad, besides those going for other courses. However, student applicants must do their due diligence before selecting and joining a MBBS college abroad to check if its MBBS degree is in compliance with India’s National Medical Commission and its rules and regulations.