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Iran official sounds note of alarm on brain drain

A research organization on Tuesday released figures indicating that only three of the 18 students who have participated in scientific olympiads abroad and have received doctorates have returned to Iran, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Head of the 'Youth Research Organization' Hossein Mirzaei told IRNA that the remaining 15 are working abroad.

Since 1987, he pointed out, more than 376 student have been sent to participate in international scientific olympiads, '262 of whom have not returned to the country'.

He did not give the details of the academic levels in which the olympians are enrolled in foreign universities. "But that they are pursuing Bachelors and Masters in various fields."

He alluded to lack of suitable employment opportunities along with unavailability of research-related work as primary factors driving them away.

If gainful jobs are created in the country, gifted students will return Mirzaei said, adding, "The prevailing trend of the gifted students who have not returned is similar to brain drain phenomenon."

Conversely, he said many of the gifted students are willing to 'stay in Iran under any circumstances'.

He further stressed the need to provide suitable grounds to support those who are willing to stay in the country.

In one the latest comments on the phenomenon, 'Iran News' last month expressed grave concern over the increasing departure of the best minds from the country, saying 'social restrictions and economic shortcomings' are the main causes for the critical trend.

The scope and scale of the problem is such that Iran is 'once again the global leader' in this phenomena.

The editorial says Iranians find it more and more difficult to enter the 'middle class' strata in society such that they contemplate emigration in order to find the financial security which they badly need.

The brain drain is not limited to prodigies, but extends to all educated classes and elite in society including businessmen, specialists and investors, it pointed out.

"Political uncertainty, social tensions and lack of sufficient individual and social freedoms are additional crucial factors driving our intelligent and skilled human resources to search for their destiny elsewhere," the editorial went on to say.

"The younger generation leaving their homeland, specially those who are bright and more well off," it said.

"It is virtually impossible for a college-educated Iranian youth to purchase a car, unless he or she is independently wealthy," it added to substantiate its observation that young people are particularly vulnerable to the lure of better opportunities abroad.

Moreover, 'new domestic political and social tensions or crises' could also drive managers, specialists, doctors, engineers and scientists to pack their bags and leave the country, it predicted.

... Payvand News - 8/6/03 ... --

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