Monday, 10 May, 2021

Fostering Brain Gain

The poor and underdeveloped nations often suffer from the flight of their human capital, which has been widely referred as to brain drain. The educated and talented professionals migrate to the developed nations in search of better opportunity of education, job and quality of life. The poor law and order, lack of health and education infrastructure, and high level of unemployment impel individuals to leave their own soil. This sort of human mobility bears wider ramifications for the countries of both origin and destination. The nations which receive the pools of trained and qualified persons are greatly benefitted which is called brain gain. As the sending nations incur economic and academic loss, it is called brain drain. This is a global phenomenon and does not limit to a particular region or continent. The advanced and rich nations have attracted the competent human resources from the developing or even developed nations. For example, post-war Europe saw many scientists and intellectuals move to the USA where they enjoyed better environment for pursuing their profession and career.

Nepal also witnessed the flight of human capital as it underwent chronic instability and armed conflict in the past. Declining quality of education and acute shortage of jobs are some critical factors causing the exodus of Nepalis to the rich countries. This has led to the rise in the number of diaspora Nepali experts comprising scientists, engineers, doctors, economists and humanities scholars. Many Nepalis now hold envious positions in different universities, research institutions, businesses and other lucrative professions in various nations. It is true that it was a brain drain for Nepal but at the same time these Nepali diaspora are also valuable asset of Nepal. This is a reason why Nepal’s new constitution has recognised the need “to utilise knowledge, skill, technology and capital of the non-resident Nepalis in the national development.”

In May 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs set up the ‘Brain Gain Centre’ that seeks to tap their knowledge and expertise for the overall of development of the nation. It has started to collect information about their numbers, expertise, current engagements and interests. It is the commendable initiative to harness the aptitude and insight of Nepali diaspora living in different parts of the globe. The other day Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said that the maximum number of Nepalis flying abroad were not only brain drain but also brain gain as they had created a great opportunity to gain knowledge and qualification. According to a news report of this daily, Minister Gyawali informed about the government’s policy to welcome the Nepalis, who had developed their capacities and skills while staying abroad and were interested in utilising their abilities back home.

The government has unveiled enabling laws to facilitate the non-resident Nepalis to work in Nepal without any hindrance. The Brain Gain Centre operating inside the Ministry should come up with innovative ideas to engage them in various sectors that need fresh approach and policy orientation. The Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) and its branches across the world can share their views and experiences with the Centre through digital platforms. One area they can get engaged in is the education sector. Their experiences can be valuable to revamp and enhance the standards of Nepali universities on a par with foreign ones. Flexible policies need to be formulated to motivate talented Nepalis to contribute in educational, technological and economic spheres of the country.