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Transformation of Bangladesh to scholar exporter and next

2013-12-28 06:27:11

The other day a Bangladeshi PhD student was tutoring  a Saudi student in the atrium of the library. Right at that time, the father of the student called over the phone and  the student  said that he had been taking some tutorial help from a Bangladeshi. The father was surprised, can Bangladeshi help in  higher study? Because  in Saudi Arabia,  he might have seen only Bangladeshi labor, not any Bangladeshi scholar.  This has happened in Swinburne university of Technology, where more than 50 Bangladeshis students  are pursuing for their PhD degree along with other masters and undergraduate students.


Not only that Saudi father,  but we Bangladeshis also think that Bangladesh is  a country of  cheap labors in the garment industry and  exporter of labors in other countries, especially in the middle east. But silently Bangladesh has become  scholar exporter. Hardly  there is any country in the world where no Bangladeshi scholar working. Every year a handsome number of Bangladeshi graduates going abroad, in different  universities of the world for higher study, particularly for PhD. We consider only the labors are contributing in increased remittance. But  scholars  are also making significant contribution in remittance.  


 If look with observatory eyes,  then we will discover that  in countries like Malaysia and  South Korea, where Bangladeshi people usually used to go as labor, Bangladeshis are now working as scholars; changing the attitude of the people of those countries towards Bangladesh. There are approximately 50 Bangladeshi PhD students in one Malaysian university. Seoul national university has close to a dozen of Bangladeshi PhD students. Certainly there are Bangladeshi students in other universities of  these lands.


Needless to mention that  the United States of America is the most lucrative destination for PhD and postdoctoral for Bangladeshis students. The majority of the Bangladeshi students  goes to USA after completing  their PhD in Japan and elsewhere as we know from a statistic published in Global network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologiest and as a Microbiologist graduate from University of Dhaka.

One PhD student from a Canadian university informed that  there are around 150 Bangladeshi PhD students in that university. The Facebook group, Prospective Bangladeshi students in Canadian Universities, has  14557 members. This shows  how many people are preparing to  go to Canada for higher studies.

In the east, Japan is an old destination for Bangladeshi students to pursue PhD. Recently Bangladeshi students are also going to China and Hongkong  for  PhD and other degrees.

In the middle east, most of the Bangladeshi scholars are coming via  western countries. They have obtained a PhD and  gained research and teaching experience in those developed countries  and now heading toward middle east for  better scope.

Few, if not some, Bangladeshi students are also doing their  PhD in our closest neighbor India.

In Europe, Germany is another lucrative destination. The Facebook group, Bangladeshi student and alumni association in Germany, has more  than 18000 members. Other European countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium are frequent destination of Bangladeshi students for higher study. The Netherlands is the preferred destination for Bangladeshi students for higher study, particularly  for PhD.

The Facebook group, Bangladeshi student and alumni Association  in Australia, has more than 6000 members. There are 38 universities in Australia. If there are on an average 25 PhD students, then there are 950 Bangladeshi students doing a PhD in Australia. This average is not  exaggerated. Small university like Swinburne has  around 50 PhD students.

All these information shows only the tip of the iceberg of Bangladeshi scholars in different countries of the world. We can easily guess that approximately 10 thousand Bangladeshi students are pursuing  for their PhD worldwide. Every year  at least 1000 Bangladeshi students leaving  the country to pursue PhD in abroad.  This  Bangladesh is developing  1000 PhDs every year, as suggested by Professor Zafar Iqbal, though not actively and without control and not within her boundary.


Even so, how should we look at this export of Bangladeshi scholars in foreign countries? What should be our attitude about it? Should we be worrying too much  seeing the brain drain?   

Actually we don’t need to worry  that much about  brain drain at this progressive state of Bangladesh for a number of reasons. These are  1) At this stage, Bangladesh is not able to provide a congenial environment for the growth of her entire talent pool, 2) Overnight  such environment  can not be  developed, 3). Bangladesh is not able to utilize all of the meritorious sons and daughters at the present status  and can not develop  such capacity overnight, 4).Brain wastage is more harmful than brain drain. If the brain is  used anywhere in the world, then Bangladesh gets many things from the output of that brain. If wasted,  neither Bangladesh, nor the world benefit  from the precious brain, 5). No country in the world is immune to brain drain,  from USA, Canada, UK, Japan, Israel and other middle eastern countries. It is not possible to stop brain drain completely (see  the graph below), 6). Many of these developed brains will come back  to pay the debt  of the nation following the example of  Dr. Jamal Nazrul Islam, Professor Abdullah Al Mamun

, Professor  Rabbani E Siddiki, Chief Scientific Officer Mubarak Ahmed Khan.  Others will serve country  like Dr. Maksudul Alam, Dr. Abed Chowdhury , Dr. Ahmed Azad  even living in abroad. Some others will come  back  failing to survive  in abroad. Some others will come back see an entrepreneurial opportunity in Bangladesh, due to their keen sight developed  being in abroad. 

 Source: http://sperglord.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/061_sawv_big.jpg

Nevertheless, we have to minimize brain drain, decreasing gradually. For that, we have to improve the  environment  gradually to utilize the  brain pool so that more and more Bangladeshi brain can be utilized  in our own country. We have to improve the working conditions in our  research organizations such as Bangladesh atomic energy commission (BAEC), Bangladesh council of scientific and industrial Research (BCSIR), National institute of biotechnology (NIB), Bangladesh rice research institute, Jute Research institute,  and in our universities along  with  building new research organizations. Because, after higher study abroad, majority of Bangladeshi doesn’t think coming back to Bangladesh as it becomes apparent before them  that they will not be able to utilize the skill  and expertise  in Bangladesh that they have received over the year.


One more thing  should be  done - tracking of Bangladeshi talents, where they are going and  in which field they are gaining skill  and expertise-to utilize in specific projects when needed. This can be done  easily in the airport. Questions such as  1. Are you going abroad for higher study (MS, PhD)? 2. Are you a Bangladeshi with PhD degree? 3. If yes, your area/ subject  of  expertise ?


 We want, that day is not far away when Bangladesh will become efficient user of her talent pool from an  scholar exporter  improving   work conditions in her organizations and become brain puller like other developed countries.  

Editors Notes:    Share your thought on the issue and share using social media and thus make it an topic of dicussion

The opinions expressed and information shared are those of the writer's and commentators; do not necessarily reflect that of Scientific Bangladesh.Scientific Bangladesh accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for the accuracy or content of writers' and commentators' opinion and information.

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