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Brain Drain Needs Research

“There is strong anecdotal evidence of young New Zealand graduates leaving New Zealand for more pay”, University of Canterbury Students’ Association President Darel Hall says.

“The South Island students’ associations involved in DEBTE (Determined to Elect Better Tertiary education) are concerned with what we perceive to be the social cost to New Zealand of the evidence we have of the Brain Drain, but it needs better research by the government.”

“Minister for Tertiary Education Max Bradford cites the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors data on graduate destinations as evidence there is no brain drain. He also says that 75% of Diploma/Bachelor graduates travelled overseas in the first five years after graduation.”

The NZVC University Graduate Destinations 1998 Report has responses from 414 New Zealand overseas respondents from a total response of 7796 New Zealand respondents. That means that 5.3% of respondents were overseas, not even close to Mr Bradford’s 75%, or even some discounted quantum to allow for the different time frames. This clearly indicates the report is not useful for the purposes of determining whether there is a Brain Drain or not.

Mr Bradford on the one hand argues against a brain drain, and on the other says the issue will be addressed by the 5 Steps policy to be announced next week.

We know that the average debt of students leaving New Zealand is $14 000 compared to $11 000 for those who do not leave. While that is an important correlation it does not provide proof of the relationship between debt and the Brain Drain. It is enough, however, given the anecdotal evidence, to research the brain drain issue seriously as it has the potential to be an extremely serious problem for New Zealand.”

ends

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