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The biggest injustice
Brain drain

By Ahmad Anvari
August 6, 2002
The Iranian

A recent study shows about 80 percent of Iranians who competed and were awarded in various international science olympiads are now either studying in the U.S. universities or employed at top positions by well known U.S. companies.

This phenomenon leads to an unprecedented rate of "brains" leaving the country, brains that could turn Iran into a developed nation. Some of these students complain that the instructors are not scientifically qualified to teach at graduate level, but is this the real reason?

A number of economic, social and political conditions underlie the fact that a large number of Iranian experts and sociologists leave the country to seek security and attention at social level. Lack of appreciation and low income also prepare the ground for the university professors to gradually leave the country and accept positions outside Iran.

"Statistics have shown that a considerable number of the experts who have left the country are not in contrast to our political system", said Zarifian, a deputy Higher Education Minister. "They are seeking a peaceful environment to pursue their scientific activities."

The "brain drain" is serious. Experts believe it is a critical threat against the strategic sections of national assets, reducing the country's scientific and technological potential and slowing down the production pace in the near future.

I was recently talking to some of the top-notch Iranian engineers in the San Francisco Bay Area who are working at the most successful high-tech companies in Silicon Valley and everybody agreed that the United States is benefiting most from the migration of the Iranian educated-class and experts. According to press reports, more than 150,000 Iranian physicians and engineers now live in the U.S.

More generally, many foreign embassies in Tehran report a sharp increase in immigration enquiries especially to Canada and Germany. Many believe that the new wave of immigration started in 1998 when a considerable number of the nation's outstanding students left the country to pursue their higher-level degrees at some of the famous US universities. Since then, a large number of talented students, especially those who were trained under the supervision of excellent professors, left Iran for their graduate studies.

I would like to use this opportunity and thank all the teachers and professors who take the time and effort to select and train students for the national teams. These scholars are critical in helping the Iranian team achieve the best medals in the world, making all Iranians proud. Unfortunately, the country is not currently benefiting from all the expenses made for training and educating those students due to Iran's most painful phenomenon, "brain drain".

According to the local media, more than 450,000 Iranian university graduates have left the country during the recent years seeking pleasant lives, reliable financial prospects and higher potential to grow. This number is the highest rate in the world, but the basic question is what are the other reasons contributing to this trend, the biggest injustice to the nation?

Obviously, further more than the ones mentioned above, there are numerous other reasons that require professional analysts convey a deeper root cause analysis before they leave the country!

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