The Indian Embassy in Beijing has issued an advisory for students who want to pursue medical education in China, in which it has noted that a majority of such graduates fail to clear a screening test in India.

The embassy said that from 2015 to 2021, only 16% students who studied in Chinese universities were able to pass the Foreign Medical Graduate Exam. All students who hold medical qualifications from outside India and want to practice medicine in the country need to pass this examination.

The embassy cited the figure on the basis of a study conducted by National Board of Examination, an autonomous body under the Union health ministry that is in charge of standardising postgraduate medical education. The study showed that only 6,387 out of 40,417 students who appeared in the FMG Examination from 2015 to 2021 had cleared it.

“The prospective students and parents may please note this fact while deciding on seeking admission in Chinese universities for clinical medicine programme,” the Indian Embassy in Beijing said.

The embassy also said that it received feedback from past students who listed English language skills of teachers as a common challenge. “Few students have also complained about lack of practical/clinical experience in terms of engaging with patients in certain universities,” it said.

The embassy added that only 45 universities in China are authorised to give admission to foreign students for medical courses in English.

It also urged students to take note of coronavirus restrictions imposed in China.

“...Due to the ‘Dynamic Zero Covid Policy’ of China, there are various restrictions and quarantine norms in China, which varies from city to city and are very strict and demand full compliance without exception,” the embassy said.

On August 22, China announced that it will resume visas for Indian students, which it had stopped for two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 20,000 Indian medical students had returned from China in January 2020 when Covid-19 cases started increasing sharply in the country. They were unable to return to China to complete their studies due to Beijing’s stringent policies to contain the spread of the disease and the non-availability of direct flights.

Since February, several of these students had been demanding that they be allowed to return to Chinese universities. They have repeatedly urged the Indian government to take up the matter with China.