Brain drain is a term defined as the movement of highly skilled people from their country to another where they can earn more money and maintain their academic improvement. Low pay has persistently topped among the reasons for the high human capital flight.
The underdeveloped countries and the developing countries are the most hit in the devastating twist in the work force trends as they cannot give competitive pay to the highly agile and talented people that they develop.
A big economic question can be posed; why spend a lot in training a labour force that the staggering economies cannot absorb?
As many experts have always postulated, scientists, engineers, academicians and physicians are trained with scarcely available resources at social cost in their home countries for the benefits and growth of the nation. However, these exits have left helplessness to the concerned institutions and countries that are losing thousands of their highly educated workers for the benefit of richer countries.
Workers in a number of countries even within the EAC are outraged over the issue of poor pay. Currently, medical doctors in Kenya have issued a strike notice if their demands in the improvement of their working conditions and pay hikes are not expediently attended to. As a result, many lives are at risk as the medical practitioners rehearse to down their tools in a rather historical turn of events in the history of the profession in the country.
It is true that many undeveloped and developing countries cannot afford to pay as much as the developed countries can do but the big question remains whether heavy spending on education is worth it.
This looks like an African problem. In other words, brain drain has become synonymous to Africa as statistics have indicated that Africa suffers most in the ‘unfortunate phenomena’ of intellectual migration.
A report broadcasted by the BBC (2002) said that Africa had lost a third of its skilled professionals and it was costing the continent $4 billion a year to replace them with expatriates from the West.
On the contrary, rich countries like USA had saved a total of $26 billion which should have been spent in training 130,000 highly qualified physicians.
In his book, Causes and Consequenses of Brain Drain; How long should Africa Tolerate this? Ashenafi Gedamu suggests some possible solutions to curve brain drain as stated below:-
1.Good governance at national and international level, especially maintenance of security of people’s lives and property is essential for economic progress thus withholding political and economic emigrants who blame their governments’ failure for political unrest and stagnant economic progress is possible.
2.Offering higher wages for ‘insiders’ according to their qualifications is essential instead of overestimating and hiring expatriates, who are more costly.
3.Education plays a powerful role in the growing problems of international migration. Therefore, offering these individuals the necessarily education qualifications in their home countries and expanding the educational infrastructure may definitely prevent emigrants who are seeking higher education abroad.
The author is the Director of Studies at Nu Vision High School.