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Ukraine crisis reverberates in India

Indian students in Ukraine
New Delhi (India): It is unfortunate when a country’s social fabric is getting torn by war, social unrest and natural calamities. It is least told that how this crisis affecting the future of brilliant brains who are pursuing toughest programmes in higher education. Now the crisis in Ukraine has the same story of uncertainty to be told. Over thousands of Indian students and their parents are living with prayers. This is similar to the situation when Glasnost and Perstroika announced by Gorbachev hit the communist USSR in the second half of 1980. 

Now Parents of 5000 students enrolled in MBBS programmes offered by leading universities in Ukraine are keeping their fingers crossed amid the reports of escalating tension in Ukraine. Around 2,500 Indian students go to Ukraine for higher education every year, the majority for medicine, said Suresh Kumar R., owner of Truematics Overseas Education Consultancy.
Ukrain Crisis

The crisis between Russia and the Ukraine over the Crimean peninsula is escalating day by day. With the Western forces standing against Russia in the issue, the crisis is going to deeper and not easy to be solved soon. On 4 May, the Indian embassy in Ukraine said that with an interim government in place and presidential elections scheduled for May 25, the situation could remain uncertain in the coming months. "Therefore, it is advisable that Indians in Ukraine, particularly students in the east and south of Ukraine, stay away from venues of protests and restrict their movements to places of study, work and stay," it said.

Parents of about 800 students in Kerala are living in between deep-sea and Satan. Around 1,000 Indian students, including 200 from Tamil Nadu, are in Crimea, said Amreek Singh Dhillon, an education agent who serves as the Indian representative of Crimea State Medical University (CSMU). A private educational consultant here specializing in higher education programme in Ukraine accepted that the political unrest in Ukraine is likely to hit the number of students aspiring to join medical and engineering courses in the new academic year. He said more than 50 Indian students had left Crimea recently to join their parents back home after violence broke out in the region.

Many consultants don't want to take chances. "There is no conflict and it is safe in Crimea, but we don't want to take chances with students. We'll wait for two or three weeks and decide if we should recruit students in the coming year," said the director of a leading consultancy.

Some consultants closed services to universities in Russia and Ukraine as the results were poor. "We stopped recruiting students for Russian and Ukrainian medical universities as many couldn't clear the Medical Council of India exams, which authenticate their degrees. Most universities are cheaper, but of poor quality," said Sivaraman Pandian, director of Europe Study Centre (TN and Karnataka).

Over the last few days, P. Suresh, a resident of Kodambakkam, has been scanning the international news intently.

What happens in Ukraine, where the political situation is currently volatile, is of intense interest to him; for his only daughter, Nisha Evangelin, is in her first year at Crimea State Medical University.

Other parts of Ukraine though, parents said, were better off. In fact, some students from Crimea had travelled to Kharkiv and other, interior parts last week, waiting for the situation to stabilise. T. Nagarajan, father of a first-year student at Kharkiv National Medical University, said the situation there was normal.

The latest travel advisory issued by the Indian Embassy in Ukraine has scared parents here. “The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine has issued a recommendation dated 29 April 2014 to all educational institution in Ukraine that they may complete their summer examinations for foreign students before 20 May 2014. The Embassy strongly recommends that Indian students should leave Ukraine as soon as these examinations are held and not stay on during the vacation period”- says the advisory that remains effective till May 16.

Parents whom Edubeans spoke with on the emerging situation pointed out that confusion prevails as the universities are yet to announce the new date of the examination.

Many had already booked the tickets as per the earlier examination schedule in June. They will have to shell out an additional 100 or 200 US dollars to re-schedule a ticket before May 20. The Indian Embassy has also strongly recommended that Indian students should leave Ukraine as soon as these examinations are held and not stay on during the vacation period.

The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine has requested the university authorities to ensure transfer of foreign students from institute of higher education in the mainland Ukraine.

Indian students have been told to restrict their movements in view of the mounting crisis in eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. Those in the Western parts of Ukraine have been advised to stay away from the traditional areas of protests in the western parts of Ukraine and exercise caution about their safety.

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