The majority of these students ended up in Ukraine because they could not find places in South African universities, especially medical institutions, due to over-enrollment – ​​now having escaped the invasion Russian and having to resume their studies, they face another ordeal.

Talk to Maverick CitizenLebone Kganyago of Expats South Africa and Victoria Maheso of the International Students Association of South Africa said that while the focus had initially been on evacuating students, it “has now shifted to how students are reintegrated into the [South African] higher education system. There has been engagement with relevant stakeholders such as government, [the Health Professions Council of South Africa, HPCSA]university deans to say, listen, students are in the country now and need to complete their studies – what is the way forward? »

They said the scope of the discussion so far was which institutions were able to accommodate students and how many they could accommodate, and that while the majority were medical students, there were some others to consider who were studying software engineering, business administration and dentistry.

The organizations further stressed that students educated and trained in Europe should be able to use their skills and education in South Africa to contribute to the South African system, which the Ukrainian student crisis had highlighted.

To this end, they were in discussion with representatives of higher education institutions to allow students to obtain curriculum accreditation for the modules studied so far.

“Most of these students even received letters of recommendation from their institutions. [in Ukraine] so that they can do the practical work that needs to be done in South Africa.

Fourth-year medical student Nkateko Muyimane, who was able to flee ukraine and who co-founded the NGO SA Safe Corridor for Students (SASCS), said Maverick Citizen that it has been slow and that during the talks between the HPCSA Universities of South Africa, who represent all the Vice Chancellors in South Africa, and other organisations, there was still no clarity on the how student tuition and accommodation costs would be covered.

Medical student Nkateko Muyimanewho fled Ukraine and co-founded SA Safe Corridor for Students to help students still trapped in the country, speaks in Johannesburg on March 21, 2022. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

“There was an opportunity that came up from Russia where they said they were ready to take in medical students,” but the students weren’t keen to take it because they are “the enemy,” Muyimane said.

However, there was a silver lining. He had contacted a hospital in Tzaneen, where he lives, while SASCS co-founder Madisa Malindisa had contacted private clinics in Johannesburg, and these were willing to allow students to do their practical work to complete their online studies in their Ukrainian universities.

The South African Board of Medical Deans said last week: “For South African students studying in this country, the burden of suddenly finding themselves without a place of study cannot be estimated. This added the need for a more urgent response to their situation.

“This particular series of war-induced events will require us to think about our response on two levels:

  • As a humanitarian crisis that demands a global and national response of care and compassion; and
  • As a pedagogical challenge that will have to answer the questions of mutual recognition of qualifications, the adequacy of training platforms and the ability to meet the learning needs of students.

“In the context of these intersecting crises, we would like to propose the following levels of response:

  • An urgent forum to discuss and create plans for the management processes of all students currently studying medicine abroad;
  • Convene a panel that will urgently review the placement of these Ukraine-based medical students in [alternative] European sites with reciprocal medical qualification. This group should include the South African Committee of Medical Deans (SACOMD), South African Universities (USAf) and government departments responsible for higher education, health and international relations; and
  • Ongoing discussions among Deans of Medicine to create appropriate responses to students’ urgent clinical development support needs.

Ask by Maverick Citizen whether the HPCSA had undertaken to help students and what steps it was taking to help students get placed in universities across the country, David Mametja of the council said:

Yes, we participated in some consultations with student representatives. JThe HPCSA will do whatever is necessary to help students. However, this can only track students who have been hosted by South African universities, which would then allow the HPCSA to enroll them. Je HPCSA is disturbed by the unfortunate circumstances the students have had to go through. We will stand together through the days and months it takes to ensure that students complete their education, within our legislative mandate.

According to South African International Students Association and Expats SA, students face an uncertain future, as for now it looks like they have to wait out the bureaucratic processes that will determine whether they will be placed in Africa’s higher and medical education system. from South. SM/MC