The National Medical Commission (NMC) on Tuesday, 8 February, warned students aspiring to enrol in MBBS programmes in China to "exercise due diligence in choosing where to pursue medical education from," adding in a notice that the body "does not recognise or approve medical courses done only by online mode".
It is, however, not clear whether students who were already enrolled in MBBS programmes in Chinese universities – and who have had to study online the last two years – will be affected.
The commission further cautioned prospective students about visa suspensions and strict travel restrictions put in place in China amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Any prospective student needs to be aware that the Government of People's Republic of China has imposed strict travel restrictions in the wake of COVID-19 and suspended all visas since November 2020," reads the official notice released by NMC.
Due to the above-mentioned restrictions, a large number of students – international and Indian – have not been able to return to China to resume their studies. "The Chinese authorities have conveyed earlier that courses will be conducted online," the notice added.
Why Has the Notice Been Issued?
The notification has been released in the view of commencement of admission process for MBBS programmes in some universities in China.
The notice iterated that students planning to apply for MBBS courses in Chinese universities should reconsider because the National Medical Commission does not recognise or approve medical courses done only by online mode.
The NMC has also advised students to refer to Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE) regulations before applying or planning to seek admission in any institution in China/ Foreign institutions. The FMGE is a screening test for medical graduates to be eligible to practice medicine in India.
Students who have been pursuing their courses from China, and are attending classes online, are worried about their future. A few students took to Twitter to voice their concerns.