China has become an education hub for students wishing to study MBBS. This degree is particularly popular among students from South Asia, especially from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. Due to the limited number of places and the high cost of medical studies in their home countries, students are forced to look outside the country’s borders to find reputable universities that can offer them affordable MBBS admissions. China is the answer to their prayers and hosts thousands of such students every year, most of them from the Subcontinent.
All was well, but then came COVID-19. With the arrival of COVID-19, the borders in China, as elsewhere in the world, were closed to all, including international students. At first, it seemed that the epidemic would be over within a few months, but as time went on, no news of the opening of the borders to international students came. This was a worrying prospect for international students, because medical students, unlike other specialties, have to carry out autopsies and experiments, which are essential for their training and without which medical students will not gain practical knowledge of anatomy.
Online classes were adopted and students continued to study, but now the borders have been closed for almost two years and this has a negative impact on students studying MBBS in different Chinese universities. Although they have attended online classes, they have not gained any practice, which will have a negative impact on the quality of doctors being trained unless measures are taken to remedy this problem.
Several suggestions have been made, such as allowing foreign students, especially those who have previously been admitted to study MBBS in China and those who will continue to study MBBS in China, to travel to China after vaccination. China has already been a country that has done everything possible to control the Kovid pandemic, and at enormous cost. At the start of the epidemic, China was completely shut down to block the spread of the disease, which had a positive effect in controlling the spread of the disease.
In addition, Chinese scientists have worked hard to develop vaccines to help people gain immunity to COVID-19. China is actively vaccinating its population and aims to vaccinate 80% of the population by mid-2022. It is believed that once vaccinated, the Chinese people will be immune to COVID, and borders are expected to be opened to foreign students who have been vaccinated. However, caution will also have to be exercised here, as viral mutations are constantly emerging. Another pandemic will cause huge disasters.
For international students, access to the Internet in remote areas remains a challenge for the time being. The time difference between China and other countries is also a reason why students sometimes cannot attend classes, for example, the time difference between Nigeria and China is 7 hours. Sometimes it becomes practically impossible for international students to cope with the time difference.
Senior students have different problems. For those studying in the 4th or 5th year of MBBS, students cannot go for rotation in the hospital. As a result, they do not have the practical knowledge or skills to examine, analyze and treat patients (under the supervision of a professor), and this also prevents them from gaining experience in how to work and face emergencies in real life. This will create a generation of doctors with limited practical skills, with far-reaching consequences. On the other hand, for students who have already completed their studies, their belongings still remain in their dormitories. Although this is not a major problem, it is still a problem.
Although universities have done their best to try to cope with the COVID situation, the quality of education has deteriorated due to a number of factors, including those mentioned above. International students have asked their universities about the possibility of returning to China to compensate for the loss in education, but no timetable has yet been provided and it seems impossible for international students to return to China in 2021.
When international students will be able to return to China has been a question that haunts all international students and one that does not seem to be answered any time soon. Although there are challenges facing both international students already studying in China and new international students wishing to study MBBS in China, the pandemic is a natural phenomenon that is beyond human control. All students studying MBBS in China should watch more practical online videos, join all classes and actively participate with questions in online classes, and try to enroll in hospitals in their home countries to cope with the lack of practical knowledge. Let us all be strong and pray that the pandemic will end as soon as possible.
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