Brain Drain

From Brain Drain To Gain

According to research, approximately 3 percent of the World’s population lives in a different country from that of their birth. This number keeps on increasing every year. Now, this increase in number is surely related to the brain drain phenomenon and that’s the reason why many developing countries like India are invariably hit socially and economically.

What is the Brain drain?

Brain Drain means the top talent of a country going elsewhere and not contributing back to its system. This could be in the form of skilled professionals going abroad either for education or for business. It’s like doctors, scientists, businessmen, etc. going abroad. 

Reasons For Brain Drain

There are many reasons why people want to go abroad. The first thing is the status symbol. People feel like having a degree from abroad or doing a job from abroad. It’s like having a higher level in society if their relatives or family members are either studying or working abroad.

Another thing is that many universities in abroad countries have much higher international rankings, much higher facilities and much higher impact on the face of science.

So, while working in those labs, working in such facilities, there is a great chance of a better job. Even if the one later decides to come back after education, there is a better chance of getting a good job with a degree from abroad. Even the salaries people get abroad is higher, and the status of living is much better in other countries.

Another reason is that even there are new IITs, but there is not sufficient infrastructure. The new IITs don’t have alumni. Many of them are set up in remote cities.

So, the faculty can’t find a job there for a spouse and then what about the children’s education?

There can be better infrastructure, better education system, and better healthcare so as for the betterment of the whole system.

Retaining Top Brains

The research and higher education sector in India are improving. Firstly there are no VISA related uncertainties that are there in the USA. In the USA, a green card could take you years. So, at least those fears are not here if somebody is working in India.

To bring the top brains, it requires an effort from the policymakers of government and the educational institutions themselves. It is possible to do quality research in India. The government has set up many agencies that are much more efficient in funding the top researchers.

Many universities have already set up joint degree programs with other international universities. For example, IIT Bombay has a joint program with Monash University Australia. So most of the good universities have joint programs. In this way, a student doing education from India can get a degree from abroad.

Another thing is that research in India doesn’t get media coverage. There is a disconnect between researchers and common people. The perception of people will take more time to change. A platform like “Eduvoice” is very important because there is no focus or coverage of research in normal newspapers.

So, if we put the common man and the researcher through a common platform. This way, the people will know what is happening in the institutes and research centers across India. In this way, the researcher can convey the research to the common man in which they can understand. So, media platforms are important.

Another thing that can be done is to form a good alumni network. This way, people can be attracted. For example, there is such a program in China where the faculty members working in US universities work in the Chinese universities during summer for 2-3 months, which lead to good connections and collaborations.

This can also lead to good publications. Initiating such a program can always make the faculties of other countries think of joining the universities here and settle here.

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There are many government programs also in India for encouraging collaboration between many countries like India and Germany or France. The government provides funding, and this can lead to collaborative proposals. The programs are very important for further increasing the international outreach of India’s higher education.

Another thing is that online programs are very important to train young students. For example, it is not possible to increase IITs, but with the help of good and reputed online platforms, it is possible.

The working professionals can also increase their skills with the help of this. Freshers can join such online programs, and they can get their skills upgraded while working in the industry. This will lead to more good industry-relevant research projects as well.

Role Of Professor 

In today’s globalized world, no one can stop making choices of their own. But a professor or mentor has a huge role. We need to go beyond merely teaching. We need to put more focus on quality research to get in top-tier venues. This will require more hard work.

Another good thing that some universities are doing is going to interview abroad, which is a good initiative. This will help in attracting top talent. Good international collaboration will lead to attracting top researchers to the nations as well.

The government has also started a scheme like VAJRA, where we can invite one international faculty for a few months, which will conduct research here and will also teach the students. Not only Indians can be attracted, but also foreign researchers can be attracted to such schemes and collaborations.

As for the high school teachers, they need to see the point to convince the students. It’s not easy to get a working VISA abroad even after getting a degree like a Ph.D. from abroad. So a part of brain drain is about the myth that everything is nice and easy abroad.

So, the teachers need to tell this to the students. Also, the family members have a role to play in it as they also need to tell them about how India is slowly progressing, and quality research is increasing here.

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Dr. Sparsh Mittal

Assistant Professor at IIT, Roorkee
Has published more than 85 papers at top venues and research has been covered by InsideHPC, HPCWire, Phys.org, StorageSearch, and ScientificComputing

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