Thursday 23 April 2020 8:47 PM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON April 24: In a blatant letter sent to Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and copied into the Kerala government, the Overseas Indian Cultural Congress (OICC) has raised the plight of Indian students stranded in the UK due to the Coronavirus situation. The letter warns the Indian government the Kerala government that the stranded Indian students are faced with potential life threatening issues, for which if a solution is not found then there are likely to be causalities.
The Overseas Indian Cultural Congress (OICC) is a non-profit organisation working predominantly among Indian communities to nurture wider community harmony in the UK.
The letter asks the Indian government and the Kerala government to take immediate steps to get help for these students through the Indian Missions in the UK and other European countries. The situation is reaching a tipping point and it may become too late if the required support is not immediately provided, said the letter shared with this website.
The letter states that thousands of Indian students have travelled to the UK and other European cities at the beginning of this academic year to join higher education courses. These include students who have joined both longer (i.e. graduate level) and shorter duration courses (i.e. certificate courses).
All these educational institutions have now closed until further instruction and these students are stuck in their university or privately rented accommodation facilities. Many of these students were relying on various sources of income through part-time jobs, third party funding etc. to be able to meet their daily expenses.
However, the current situation is that these students are still expected to pay for their expenses but have no sources of additional income. The savings that they have for paying for their education and expenses are also drying up fast. Many students are already in deep trouble and unable to find ways to pay for their food and accommodation.
There are very limited avenues for these students to seek help and support. Till date, many of these students have relied on the support provided by organisations such as OICC and other community organisations. These students are also not eligible for the financial support recently announced by the UK for those who have lost their jobs due to the current crisis.
These students didn’t receive qualified guidance from India regarding such potential consequences when they were applying for positions in universities across the world. Many of these students relied on the advice provided by unregulated educational consultancies and believed that the support system in their host countries will take care of their issues.
However, the fact is that, many of these students haven’t even registered for receiving health and hospital care in the UK as they were not aware that they are expected to do so. In the current situation, the GP practices are closed, and these students will struggle if any of them get affected by Covid-19.
The letter was sent on behalf of OICC UK by K K Mohandas who is the Joint Convenor of Overseas Indian Cultural Congress (OICC) in the UK.
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