Brian Drain refers the situation when highly qualified and trained people leave a country to permanently settle in some other country. It is also referred to as Human capital flight.
Highly educated professional people immigrate to other advanced countries for better opportunities and a comfortable life style.
The problem of Brain-drain, in our age, has become very elusive. The developing countries like India are desperately in need of talents, especially in the field of science and technology but for one reason or the other the talents and fleeing their countries, leaving their native lands impoverished in the process.
Brain Drain is an extremely serious problem for a developing countries. The destiny of such countries lies in the solution to this great problem. India can be taken as an instance in point. After independence this country is engaged in difficult struggle against poverty. But struggles cannot be launched in papers; they require armies of trained personnel – the scientists, technical knowhow and specialists in the field of planned development. If, instead of contributing to the prosperity of India, the Indian scientists, research scholars, engineers, doctors and economists immigrate to other countries, it is difficult to see how India can implement her development plans and attain her goal of prosperity.
In ancient times the scholars of one country visited neighboring countries, and they often stayed there for years, both learning and teaching. The great scholars of China and Persia and other scholars from the West visited India during her prosperous days in the past and wrote memoirs which are precious materials for Indian history. But these were not considered brain drain then. For when Hiuen Tsang came to India or Shilbhadra visited Tibet, staying there for many years, their absence from their own countries did not make much difference. On the contrary, their experiences and wisdom gained from their visits enriched their countries. Such exchanges benefited the countries in those days and built a bridge of understanding and amity when communication between even the neighbours was not easy.
In the under-developed countries like India, the ambitious and highly educated people found it very difficult to climb the peak, for the obstacles were many and the bureaucratic bungling was irritating. Hence, the alarming exodus started in the fifties and in the seventies the brain-drain appeared to be complete. Hundred of talents emigrated to the U.S.A. and Europe which assured them of great opportunities for getting to the top, of secure and comfortable living, of satisfaction and of glory in their respective fields. If the emigrants could have all those assurances they would not think of fleeing their country.
But the problem is that a developing country like India could hardly afford to accommodate so many ambitious people, nor could the scope be made broad enough to secure affluence for all. Some of them, after training and experiences in foreign countries, return home with individual drams and when they fail to fit in with the evolving patterns at home, despair drives them away again.
But India needs these professionally trained people, so they should be persuaded to stay in India and be content with less lucrative jobs. When India is rich enough to reward them, they would not find much to complain about. All these people are among the fortunate few, enjoying the privilege of education, while some eighty percent of Indians languish in dark hovels – poor, ignorant and superstitious. It is they duty and responsibility of those privileged few to take them out of the morass, instead of jointing the mad rush for careerism. There may be many obstacles in their way, but their dedicated services and patriotic zeal will help them rise above them and restore to India her lost glory.
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The term “Brain Drain” has come into limelight with the trend of educated and skilled people and workforce moving from one country to another to achieve career gains. The talent of such people as a result becomes available to the nation to which they relocate.
The biggest disadvantage of brain drain is the depletion of talent from the native nation which may badly need their skills and talent. It is the migration of country’s intellect which may have otherwise served their motherland and contributed to its prosperity.
Thus, this brain drain or ‘Human Capital Flight’ as it may be called, becomes a threat to the growth of countries which lose the human resources, rich in technical skills or knowledge. This has also increased the disparity in the economic and social prospects of the countries across the world .The rich and developed nations grow richer and prosperous while the developing or underdeveloped nations stay poorer and backward.
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Brain drain is a global phenomenon affecting the developing nations. The disadvantage is seen as an economic cost as a part of the training and the education cost which is sponsored by the government is also taken away with their emigration. Thus the country which experiences the drain of skilled resources faces the getaway of financial capital also.
Brain drain isn’t a problem of this era only. Even in medieval times, the conquerors attacked the nation for gold and other wealth and took people of talent and knowledge with them. This problem became pronounced after Second World War when progressive nations like USA, the erstwhile U.S.S.R. and Germany etc. began to make significant advancements in technology and scientific research attracting talent from foreign nations. Thus men of talent began migrating from less developed nations to these countries.
The reasons of brain drain are many including the lack of opportunity, political instability, health risks and many more. Many students leave their native nations for scientific and technological courses which are not offered by their own country and settle out in the country of study owing to better career opportunities, lucrative remunerations, security of life and health all of which lack in their country of birth.
Also they seek professional satisfaction in the country where they work and thus are ready to continue leaving their own nation. On the top of all this, the bureaucrats of the country fail to realize the potential and the worth of this intellect and thus they are unable to retain the cream of researchers and men with extra-ordinary talent. All these factors combined together trigger the process of brain drain.
Brain drain for the nation from which the emigrants leave to settle into the nation that promises better work opportunities becomes brain gain for the latter. Even countries like Europe were faced with the problem of brain drain until the introduction of green card that helped them gain more brains and compensated for the drained brains.
At present, countries like India, Pakistan and Russia are the sufferers of this problem and losing their talent very rapidly. Unemployment, corrupt political systems, inappropriate and unsafe work and social life as well as poor compensation, prompts the skilled and trained people to leave their own countries and seek promising opportunities in developed nations where they get more success Under utilization of talent, inadequate professional tools, lack of growth and unsatisfactory living conditions are also key factors in the emigration of the skilled workforce from these nations. India loses around 3 percent of her skilled workforce including teachers, doctors, engineers, scientists etc. to developed nations like USA.
Brain drain does more harm than is visible from an outer view. Besides depleting the natural supply of intellectual talent, it reduces the number of dynamic and innovative talent be it the academics or the booming entrepreneurs. The nations that lose the talent in turn have to depend upon foreign assistance for technical purposes.
The technology slowly becomes the onus of the developed nations when they grow richer with more resources contributing to their progress. Even the migration of medical practitioners who are highly trained to other developed nations makes the condition of health care in the native nations miserable. As a result, in case of emergencies and more complex treatments or surgeries, people from such countries have to bear expensive travel and cost of treatment and accommodation in nations that provide these facilities.
As countries lose their talent, its progress slows down and also lacks the contribution of the highly skilled human force, which has left the nation. It leads to a scarcity of skilled resources which then began to charge high for their service to the nation and its countrymen. Poorer nations like Africa suffer the worst from this problem and thus its development remains hindered.
The issue of brain drain is an international phenomenon and an outcome of the trend of globalization, but unlike other benefiting affects of it, brain drain has a negative impact. The problem of brain drain can be effectively tackled. For this, countries suffering from it have to improvise their own socio-economic conditions and provide better salary scales and safe and healthy work conditions to their human capital. Better and updated labs equipped with latest equipment can help retain more scientists and researchers leaving their country owing to lack of research opportunities.
At an international level, the nations which gain these brains should promise to send equivalent talent to the nations losing their human resources. Good governance is also important as they decide the policies that govern the security and standard of living of its people.
As discussed, some brain drain results from the stage of education only when individuals move to other nations offering better educational courses. If these individuals are offered better education opportunities in native countries, the emigration can be controlled at a preliminary level.
Governments need to show commitment to support research while allowing them to carry on their experiments freely with much independence. To conclude there is a need to review the social, political and economic conditions in the nations suffering from phenomenon of brain drain to provide better security and work opportunities to the skilled resources in the native nation.