Moldovan medical university opens its arms to more Indian students

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Mar 27, 2019
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Most of the current 350 Indian students are from Kerala

The Nicolae Testemitanu Medical University in Moldova, an Eastern European country and a former Soviet republic, plans a strategic partnership with India, according to Ion Ababii, its Rector.

During a recent tour to Kerala, Ababi met with medical officials in the state, the home to most of Nicolae Testemitanu’s 350 Indian students.

Embassies this year

The timing of the partnership initiative couldn’t be better, Ababii said, because India and Moldova will open embassies in each other’s capitals this year.

India has been handling its diplomatic relations with Moldova out of its embassy in nearby Bucharest, Romania. Moldova has had a consulate in New Delhi, but no embassy.

Ababii said the establishment of full-fledged embassies will help India and Moldova deepen their economic, educational, cultural, healthcare and other ties.

“We forged some fantastic, very productive partnerships with the US and the European Union some time ago. We’ve learned a lot from them," Ababii said.

"Now it’s time to benefit from the expertise of India’s world-renowned doctors — and the opening of our embassy in New Delhi will be a big help in facilitating this.”


Nicolae Testemitanu, which has 6,200 students, modelled its residency programme after the one at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Another partnership has made the University of North Carolina School of Medicine’s millions of online books and articles available to Nicolae Testemitanu faculty and students.

The European Union (EU) gave the university $5.1 million to build a state-of-the-art medical simulation centre, where students practice their treatment skills on specially built mannequins.

The most exciting new partnership, Ababii said, is one with the Dental Board of California, which approved Nicolae Testemitanu’s dentistry programme in May of 2018.

This led to California students enrolling in Nicolae Testemitanu’s dentistry programme for the first time in September of 2018.

English medium

Indians are the second-largest group of international students at Nicolae Testemitanu, behind the 1,500 Israelis. The university has been attracting Israelis for almost three decades.

That’s because many Moldovans emigrated to Israel after the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, were aware of Nicolae Testemitanu’s reputation, and recommended it to family members.

Over the years, Nicolae Testemitanu has provided several thousand doctors, dentists and pharmacists to Israel’s healthcare system, Ababii said.

Indian students began coming to Nicolae Testemitanu in 2000, after the university started offering courses in English. Until then, its classes were taught in Moldova’s national language of Romanian, in Russian, or French.

“Our decision to begin teaching in English was a milestone in our internationalisation efforts. Not only did we begin getting students from India, but also from the Middle East, Africa and other countries where English is either a first or strong second language, Ababii said.

Affordable option

Ababii said that Nicolae Testemitanu graduates are well trained that most can pass the difficult doctor licensing examinations in the US, Britain, Israel and other developed countries.

A testament to the quality of India’s doctors, Ababii said, is the fact that about a third of US doctors are of Indian origin. “Our Indian students are bright, diligent and hard-working,” Ababii said.

A key reason the university is forging a strategic partnership with India is that it wants more of them. Another reason is that India suffers from a chronic shortage of doctors — which Nicolae Testemitanu can help alleviate.

"I’ve read that Indian medical schools graduate a little more than 50,000 doctors a year. In a country the size of India, with more than a billion people, it’s clear that this is not enough. We can help ease some of the crunch,” Ababbi added.

Published on March 27, 2019

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