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Govt advisory against studying in Pakistan leaves J&K students on edge

While there are no official figures, the number of students who have completed their MBBS degree from Pakistan is believed to be over 400, while a few hundred have studied other courses like engineering.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
Updated: April 24, 2022 8:55:12 am
Srinagar, Srinagar news, Pakistan, Pakistan news, Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir students, J&K students, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsIn October last year, 54,289 aspirants across the state had appeared for PSI examinations for 545 PSI posts and the results were announced in January. (Representational image)

The Centre’s decision to debar students who study in Pakistan from higher studies and jobs in India has created anxiety among students in the Valley.

They say the order is ambiguous and doesn’t talk about those who have studied in Pakistan in the past.

While there are no official figures, the number of students who have completed their MBBS degree from Pakistan is believed to be over 400, while a few hundred have studied other courses like engineering.

“We are victims of politics,” says a student, who was studying in Pakistan but hasn’t been allowed to go back after he returned home for vacation before the Covid breakout.

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“If a student who studies in Bangladesh or any other central Asian country is eligible for jobs and higher education why have they singled us out? We have already lost a year because of this politics. Like other countries, we had to appear for the MCI certification before being eligible for jobs and education,” he said.

On Friday, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) debarred those studying in Pakistan from jobs and higher studies in India.

On the trigger for such a circular, UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said the higher education regulator wanted students to be careful while picking countries to pursue advanced education.

“There are no immediate triggers as such. It is our responsibility to ensure that students are sufficiently aware while making these choices. As regulators, we are concerned about our students and want to ensure they don’t face any difficulties,” Kumar said, citing the examples of Indians studying in Ukraine and China.

On specifically mentioning Pakistan, Prof Kumar said: “Educational standards in India are among the best globally. So, in case students want to study abroad, countries that offer better options should be chosen, instead of countries where the standards may not be high.”

While a sizeable number of students would travel to Pakistan for education, especially under the scholarship offered by the Pakistan government for the family members of the victims of “state violence”, the number has seen a steep decline in the past two years. The students who would go to Pakistan would be recommended by the separatist leaders, most of whom are under detention. “The number has dipped almost to zero,” said a senior police officer. “There are a few who go to Pakistan via other countries. But I don’t think anybody is allowed direct travel to Pakistan for education,” he added.

“The order is not clear,” said a student, who completed his MBBS from Pakistan two years ago. “We studied in Pakistan in the past. Does it bar us from government jobs and higher education as well? Also, there are many students who took admission before this order was passed. What about them? The government must reconsider its decision,” he said.

However, Prof Kumar clarified that the circular would not be implemented on a retrospective basis. The order is also not clear about the seats earmarked under the SAARC quota for medical and engineering.

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