Kochi: The spotlight is now turned on the connect between Wuhan and Kerala as India's all three positive new coronavirus cases so far are students of a university in the historic Chinese city, the epicentre of the epidemic.
Wuhan has been a popular destination for Keralites and others as an educational hub with quality and affordable medical courses attracting overseas scholars.
Impressed by factors such as affordability, amenities and international standards in medical education, offered in English, students from Kerala have been flocking to Wuhan University School of Medicine in China.
Wuhan, over 1,000km from Chinese capital of Beijing and 800-plus km away from the metropolis Shanghai, is a historic city and played a key role in the 20th century history of China. "I am very happy about the medical education system at Wuhan university. They offer quality education at an affordable fees," a student who had returned from Wuhan said here on Tuesday.
Aiswarya Hariharan, a third year MBBS student, returned to India early January soon after the school was shut for vacation.
It's got great standards
According to her, the Wuhan University School of Medicine has become a centre of attraction for MBBS aspirants from Kerala because of its international standard.
The six-year education at the university is very thrilling as the classes are in English for the overseas students.
"In our batch, there are about 70 international students. Interestingly, 50 of them are from Kerala," said Aiswarya from Tripunithura near here.
I spent Rs5 to 6 lakhs [Rs500,000-Rs600,000] for fee, accommodation and food annually for my daughter. This fee amount is very less when compare with many of the self-financing medical institutes with least facilities in India. Besides, studying overseas is beneficial for the students as they get an international exposure.
Parent of another MBBS student studying in the Wuhan said he sent his daughter to Wuhan because of its high standard education system in a fees affordable for him.
"I spent Rs5 to 6 lakhs [Rs500,000-Rs600,000] for fee, accommodation and food annually for my daughter. This fee amount is very less when compare with many of the self-financing medical institutes with least facilities in India. Besides, studying overseas is beneficial for the students as they get an international exposure," the parent said.
Revathy Krishnan from Thiruvananthapuram is also doing MBBS in Wuhan.
The third year student said she was very happy about her institute and its faculty which offer medical education at par with any other reputed Indian medical institute.
The students claimed that the facilities the institute offer at Wuhan university, which is also recognised by the Government of India, is of international standard.
Waiting to go back to school
The students said around 500 from Kerala are pursuing MBBS course at Wuhan University School of Medicine.
They expressed confidence that the Asian giant would overcome the crisis due to outbreak of novel Coronavirus very soon and they would be able to continue their education there.
According to students, though there are about 35 medical colleges in Kerala, not all of them could aspire to get a seat in one of them.
Educational consultant, Jacob George, General Manager of the Asian Educational Consultancy, however, felt the number of students who go to China for MBBS were minimal as several others preferred countries like Russia.
Of the three students who tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala, two are medicos from Wuhan the epicentre of the deadly epidemic which has claimed 490 lives in China.