Wednesday, 29 May, 2024
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SA med students complain that Russian education sub-standard

A group of 53 Mpumalanga medical students thought they would get top-class education in one of Russia’s universities but, says a City Press report, they now have to read material sourced from Wikipedia and Google.

The report says the situation of students who are studying at Astrakhan State Medical University in Astrakhan, southern Russia, is so dire that they have to rely on YouTube in order to learn. They believe they are wasting time and will not come out of the university as doctors ready to serve their province.

In a WhatsApp conversation, the Mpumalanga Students Committee also alleged that: their Russian lecturers only have basic English knowledge and struggle to engage and explain concepts; they are not given clinical training; and there are no textbooks. The report says the students declined to have an individual spokesperson quoted on their behalf for fear of victimisation.

“They say we want Hollywood treatment and we’re ungrateful. That’s not the case. We’re grateful and appreciate this opportunity but things are not going well,” said one of the student representatives. We get embarrassed because we can’t do practical things that doctors should be able to perform on patients. The university has even said that they can’t prepare us for the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) board exam,” he added.

The students said that former Mpumalanga education MEC Reginah Mhaule visited the institution in June last year but “she was shown what she had to see”. They are quoted in the report as saying their concerns have not been resolved.

“This university started English-medium lectures in 2013. They’re not ready and equipped to teach in English. This looks like a waste of time and we would like to be transferred to another institution,” said the representative.

The report says Mpumalanga education spokesperson, Jasper Zwane, did not respond to written questions on this matter over the past three weeks.

The students’ parents wrote to former Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza in January this year saying that students were not given transport money from the international airport Moscow and had to use their stipends when they first travelled to Russia last year.

“Students (especially girls) were told to negotiate with taxi drivers and wear relevant outfits to reduce the price. As some of the girls were traveling, the taxi driver was showing them obscene photos and videos …” reads the complaint.

The report says Russia has been attracting students to its 650 state universities because they are comparatively cheaper.

[link url=""]City Press report[/link]

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