Demand for the country’s talented and highly qualified graduates is increasing in the developed world including in the US, Canada, UK and other European countries. Different universities of developed countries are offering scholarships, and qualified youths are going to the West in search of a better life.
According to the Alumni Association of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), 25 former students out of 31 from the 1986 batch of computer science and engineering department of the BUET are now working abroad. Besides, about 35 out of 45 former students of the 1994 batch and 30 out of 65 former students of the 1998 batch of the same department are now overseas. They are working in different renowned institutions in the world.
Apart from BUET, after completing graduation, meritorious students from different public and private universities are also seeking admissions in overseas universities for higher education. Countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia and other countries in Europe are on their priority list. They further seek permanent citizenship of those countries and stay in those countries. As a result, Bangladesh is losing a large number of highly qualified youths every year.
According to a report of UNESCO titled ‘Global Flow of Tertiary-Level Students’, more than 60,000 students went overseas for higher education in 2016, while the number was 33,139 in 2015. The number has increased 83 percent in one year. After verifying different sources, it has been found that the figure crossed one lakh in 2017 and 2018. Most of the students are from the developing countries.
The government spends thousands of crores of Taka every year for education of graduates in public universities. To complete honours and masters’ degrees, the government has to spend more than five lakh taka for a public university student, at least 10 lakh taka for a BUET student while 15 lakh taka for a government medical college student in five years. The government spends the money from tax paid by the people of the country.
According to the University Grants Commission (UGC) latest report, about 15 teachers from different public universities were absent without taking approval in 2015, while it was 14 in 2014. Those teachers did not come back after completing higher education. This figure will be higher in recent years.
Following information from different departments of Chattogram University, this correspondent found that currently, four teachers from the Zoology Department, five from Computer Science and Engineering Department, four from Psychology Department, three from Statistics Department, and on an average two to three teachers from other departments are abroad for higher studies.
Other public universities show the same scenario while Science and Technology universities show higher rates. Experts were of mixed opinions when asked about youths and professionals going overseas for higher studies. Professor Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury, former Vice-Chancellor of Chattogram University told Bangladesh Post that it is time to discourage the country’s talented students to go abroad. Those who go abroad to pursue higher education, should be motivated to come back and serve their own country.
About the teachers, he said, after going abroad for higher education, the teachers who are patriotic come back and serve the country. He also urged the government to take immediate steps to prevent the brain drain in order to give the talents opportunities to contribute to the nation’s ongoing development works. Serajul Islam Choudhury, Professor Emeritus at the University of Dhaka told Bangladesh Post that highly qualified youths, after graduation, prefer to go abroad as they do not get facilities in the country as well as for lack of enough employment opportunities.
On the other hand, Dhaka University former Vice Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique told Bangladesh Post, “We have to imagine the world as a global village. Anyone can go to any country in the free market policy. It is natural that a person will go to that place where he can enjoy maximum benefits.”
“Therefore, it is natural that foreign nationals will come to our country and our students will go abroad, and this is the free market policy,” Arefin Siddique said.