Brain-drain and Brain Circulation
How They Affect the Achievement of Prosperity.
Alexander B. Koroh
Many pieces of evidence assert that most of Indonesians who study or live in advanced countries do not want or at least are reluctant to go back to Indonesia. This is a thorny issue since Indonesia as a developing country really needs the knowledge and experiences from developed countries to assist this country in enhancing the quality of individuals’ and communities’ life. Thus the Indonesian (governments and stakeholders) should attempt to hinder the occurrence of brain-drain. Evidence shows that brain-drain happened widely in the Soeharto’sEra; I guess this condition also contributed to multiplier dimensions crisis in 1998. This is a very high cost for Indonesia existence because this country was almost collapse. It could be said also that brain-drain causes Indonesia at a backward position compared to Malaysia, India, China, and Brunei Darussalam.In Soeharto’s era, brain-drain occurred because of political reasons, for instance if somebody was in different position than Soeharto. But nowadays, brain-drain still happened, because the systems that have been built for long time is not well-reformed yet; it tends to refuse bright and creative people. For instance, a friend of mine who accomplished his PhD in New Zealand, and when he came back to Indonesia, the public organization where he worked refuse him softly, the local government does not provide appropriate and sufficient official posisition. Finally he applied a job as lecturer in Malaysia, and a university there accepted him. Put in simply brain-drain is a condition where the bright academics and well-experienced citizens move and live in other countries instead of their own countries.
Advocates of status quo always blame that the backward position of Indonesia happened because Indonesia is too big and achieved its independence 60s years ago. What they are saying Indonesia is not in appropriate age to become a developed country. Perhaps this is wrong, China and India for Instance which are much bigger than Indonesia make better progress than Indonesia in various aspects of life. The progress occurs in India particularly in information and technology sector because there is a brain-circulation. Plenty of bright fresh graduates from prestigious universities in India are recruited by IT companies in advanced countries such as the United States of America, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. However, they do not stay and live in those countries permanently but only for contemporary (for several years) then coming back to India and contribute for the progress of IT and other sectors in India. Simply speaking, brain-circulation is a conducive atmosphere where the knowledge and experience moves away for a contemporary time in a certain country then coming back and apply their knowledge and experience in their homeland.
Absolutely true that prosperity is not only depends on brain-drain or brain circulation; there are many factors that determine the emergence of prosperity in a country. The leadership style, the work ethos of people, the natural resources and the political system are the factors that also pretty vital for the emergence of the prosperity. But since knowledge, skill, and expertise are the locomotive for change and progress; brain-drain and brain-circulation are crucial to be deeply observed. I guess brain-drain is negatively affects the realization of prosperity, meanwhile brain-circulation is supportive for the emergence of the prosperityof a country.