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Brain drain or brain gain?

Brain drain or brain gain?

Results of a survey conducted by the New Zealand Vice Chancellor's Committee show that, despite the student loans scheme, only around six percent of university students leave New Zealand immediately after they graduate, ACT Education spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

The survey was sent to 28,973 students, including 3,473 international students, who graduated from a New Zealand university in 2003.

"Of 10,136 graduates who responded to the 2004 survey carried out by New Zealand's eight universities, only 586 were overseas six months after graduation," Miss Coddington said.

"The good news is that 59 percent of graduates had gained full-time employment in New Zealand. A further 23 percent continued on with their studies in New Zealand.

"Of the 586 'brains' who'd 'drained', 365 were in full-time work overseas, 81 were studying full-time at overseas' institutions, and 88 were just travelling.

"We hear anecdotal scare stories about the so-called 'brain drain' caused by student debt but this survey shows that, at least with university graduates, the greater majority do stay in New Zealand after graduation.

"ACT has always harboured doubts that our 'best and brightest' graduates were abandoning New Zealand. Talk like that implies that only the losers stay behind. This survey throws some light on a debate that, until now, has largely generated only heat," Miss Coddington said.

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