Ukraine Returned Kashmiri Students Battling ‘Uncertain Future’

Srinagar- As they have finally managed to leave behind the dreadful scenes of blazing guns, falling missiles and razed cities besides dreadful nights in shelters—Kashmiri students who have finally returned to their homeland from the war-torn Ukraine have expressed a certain level of uncertainty over the completion of their medical courses in which they had invested their soul and hefty amount of money.

Several students who spoke with Kashmir Observer are physically and mentally drained with apprehensions of losing their career to the seemingly long war.

The worst hit of this escalation between Moscow and Kyiv are the final year students who would’ve completed their final exams in the month of May.

“As a final year student, I'm mandated to attend offline classes given how the National Medical Commission clearly states that it does not recognise completion of medical courses through online mode,” Arsilan Aziz, a final year student at the Kyiv National Medical University told Kashmir Observer.

“And the way things are quickly escalating in Ukraine, there are very bleak chances of us being able to complete our degrees.”

On Friday, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising concerns over uncertainty looming over the future of medical students evacuated from Ukraine.

"The Indian Medical Association is concerned about the fate and future of all these medical students admitted to various medical schools/colleges in Ukraine and, out of the compulsion of the situation, have turned out to be the hapless victim thereto," reads the letter.

The IMA in its letter has also recommended allowing these students to continue their remaining studies at Indian medical colleges.

Just like Arsilan, few other Kashmiri students who are currently enrolled at various medical courses in Ukrainian Universities have expressed similar worry over their uncertain future.

“See, the main problem is that all of our documents are currently lying in our university. Two days back, I got to know that the main campus of our university was destroyed in a missile attack. There are no chances that my documents are safe. The reports coming in from Ukraine have also suggested that this war isn’t ending anytime soon,” said Shahid Habib, a second Year student at Kharkiv National Medical University.

Shahid further added, “Let’s say our university restarts its online classes but there are hundreds of Ukrainian faculty members who’ve been turned into refugees. Do you think they'll start teaching us through online mode while finding shelter to stay alive? Being pragmatic, I don’t think we’re going to complete this degree. Obviously, we are in deep stress. We are trying to stay positive. For now, we don’t need anything except prayers. Our career may come to an end even before it could’ve started. Please pray for us.”

He also said that the destruction this war has brought upon Ukraine, "I don't think my family will allow me to go back. Maybe, I'll migrate to some other country but I still need my documents which have probably been lost in the bombings."

Pertinently, many students have also said that this war isn’t new for Ukraine as the Russian forces have already attacked Crimea several years ago but the growing escalation is something that was never seen before.

“During the war in Crimea, things were different as the escalation wasn’t as vicious as it is today. The universities reopened in just two months. Final year students were given their degrees three months before the official date,” Zaffar Malik, a student at a Medical university in Odessa told Kashmir Observer.

“This time, it’s quite clear that Russia will topple Zelensky’s Government and overtake the current Ukrainian system including the education sector. The way countries are imposing sanctions on Russia, I fear that the educational sector may also come under these sanctions, meaning that our degree will be nullified globally and we may find no job anywhere in the world. In simple words, we feel we’re doomed.”

Zaffar further stated, “There is an uncertainty about going back to Ukraine which depends upon the war situation.”

Pertinently, as per National Medical Commission's statutory regulations, a medical course from a foreign university has to be completed within 10 years from the date of enrolment.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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