Mumbai: This Malegaon resident always wanted to be a doctor. In February, Siddhesh Bachhav, a first-year medical student at Zaporizhzhia State Medical University, Ukraine, was among thousands of Indian students, who returned to their homes from the war-torn country. With no hope of going back to Ukraine, Bacchav is now pursuing civil engineering at Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) in Pune.
“I love medical education, I want to become a doctor. But right now, I do not have any option, so I shifted to engineering,” said Bachhav, who scored 280 marks in the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2021. Despite taking admission into a private college in the state, he went to Ukraine as his family could not afford the fee.
In December 2021, Bachhav joined the medical university in Ukraine but three months later, he was forced to return to India. With no end to the war in sight, Bacchav appeared for the common entrance test (CET) to pursue an engineering degree.
“I could attempt the CET since I studied physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics in class 12. I cannot afford a seat in a private medical college, nor do I want to waste a year. So, I decided to take up engineering,” said Bacchav and added that he had not given up on his dream of becoming a doctor. “I am still hoping to seek admission for medical education in a Russian university,” the youngster said.
Like Bacchav, Pranav Londhe, who was pursuing medical education in Ternopil National Medical University, Ukraine, is now enrolled for BSc in zoology at Fergusson College, Pune.
“Medical education was my dream, but due to the worst situation in Ukraine, I came back with other Indian students and decided to pursue traditional education,” the student from Nanded said.
Approximately 20,000 Indian students, who returned from war-torn Ukraine in February and March are now uncertain about continuing their education in the east European country. The students are quitting medicine, seeking transfers to educational institutions in other countries, or waiting for the Indian government to help them find a seat in medical colleges in the country.
Many of the Indian students who were pursuing their first and second year in several universities in Ukraine are opting for a fresh start in Russian universities.
Kiran Gore, a student from a farmer family in Rui Chhattishi village of Ahmednagar district, decided to fly to Russia on October 28 to start a new semester at Bashkir State Medical University. “After waiting for the government’s stand on Ukrainian students until September, we all decided to take fresh admissions into Russia’s universities,” said Gore.
Gore, who scored 450 marks in the NEET 2021, could not afford to spend around ₹1 crore on a five-year medical degree from a private college, so he chose a Ukraine university.
“Even though it is going to be a fresh start, it is cost-effective and also has a good standard of education as compared to India,” he added.
Like Gore, Tejas Mohite, another student from a village near Pune also said better facilities and quality of education prompted him to choose Russia for medical education. He demanded government support for the students who returned from Ukraine.