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After fleeing Ukraine, international medical students were told to return to exams | CBC radio

The current15:14International medical students must return to Ukraine for exams

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After leaving Ukraine when Russia invaded last year, international medical students have received emails and text messages calling them back to the war-torn country to take their final exams.

“We were shocked and at the same time we all laughed because we didn’t think it was possible that the government or the ministry would ask us to go back to a war zone,” said Amara, a Nigerian student who studied medicine in Ukraine for five and a half years before the war broke out. The CBC uses a pseudonym and does not reveal her name for fear of the future of her education.

“It’s a war zone and they cannot guarantee our safety,” she said those of the river Matt Galloway.

Amara had one year of college left when war broke out. She left Ukraine and eventually settled in Poland. She and other students are asked to take an admissions exam called KROK2, which would allow them to practice medicine in Ukraine. Amara does not intend to work in Ukraine but plans to return to Nigeria where she will have to take another exam to practice medicine in that country.

In the middle of the exam, the sirens went off– Indian medical student who returned to Ukraine for exams

Amara said she and other students refused to return for the exam and were threatened with expulsion. If they fail the exam, they cannot obtain their diplomas, potentially wasting years of study and expense. Transferring to another university to complete the training would involve high costs and possibly repeat years of study.

“[Ukraine] unfortunately going through a very horrible time. But I don’t understand why they would expect foreign students to come back and experience the same thing,” she said.

“We sympathize with the people of Ukraine, but this request is highly inhuman, to say the least.”

The current spoke to an international student from India who has returned to take the exam but is not named for fear of his career.

“The sirens went off in the middle of the exam. And as if they hadn’t even said it [for] us to just go into the bunkers. You were like, just continue your exam. It happened twice,” he said.

Students who missed the March exam were encouraged to register for the next exam in May. They have requested that the exam be canceled or held online like last year. Some have been told by their universities to apply for an extension to take the exam in the summer – but students say there is no indication the war would be over by then.

Damaged houses in Okhtyrka, 76 km south of Sumy. The region has seen intense fighting since the invasion last year. (Alexey Furman/Getty Images)

The guidelines surrounding the exam are overseen by the Ukrainian Ministry of Health. In a press release on Thursdaythe ministry said it had prepared a proposal to set up testing centers outside of Ukraine.

“If students are outside of Ukraine, they can take the exams at designated certification exam centers,” the statement said.

“Or if they are willing to return to Ukraine, they can take the exams at local universities.”

The draft resolution still needs to be approved by the cabinet ministers of Ukraine.

Ministry ‘won’t force students to come back’

Kostyantyn Rybachuk works with the department supervising the examination for the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. He said the ministry is in touch with “trusted” agencies in other countries to set up testing centers outside of Ukraine.

“The ministry and the examination board are doing everything in their power to create comfortable and safe conditions for every student,” said Rybachuk, deputy head of the Center for Testing Professional Competencies of Higher Education Specialists in Medicine and Pharmacy.

“Therefore, I would like to stress that the ministry is not forcing students to return to Ukraine,” he told Galloway.

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He said the exams will take place early in the summer but ruled out an online option. If the exam is not passed, it is possible to repeat the exam within two months. Another failing grade means the student must repeat a degree and retake the exam the following year.

He added that the ministry is responsible for overseeing policies around the exam, but instructions on how to return have come directly from universities.

“The ministry cannot tell the students to return to Ukraine or not to return to Ukraine,” he said.

“There is a huge misunderstanding between the student and the university.”

The current contacted Amaras University, Sumy State University in northeastern Ukraine, but received no response.

Another institution, the Kyiv Medical University (KMU), shared this The current that the Ministry was responsible for organizing the examination. In an email KMU said it raised security concerns with the ministry and suggested the exams be held outside of Ukraine.

Rybachuk said he was not aware of when those concerns were raised or what was highlighted.

Rybachuk said Ukraine educates medical students from 118 countries who put their trust in schools that have over a century of experience in medical education.

The exam in question aims to ensure that each graduate has achieved the “minimum knowledge, competencies, skills and everything required to go to the hospital to work,” he said, be it in Ukraine or in their home countries.

“That’s why the KROK exam is so important.”

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