Brain Drain in the Philippines.

In my Introduction to Broadcast Media class (one of my majors), we had to write a paper about one of the problems in the Philippines and more details relating to that. I wanted to share my thoughts and opinions about Brain Drain, so here is a part of my paper that I wanted to share. Do tell me what you think in the comments! 🙂

  Choose a current problem that Philippine society faces today.  Expound on the problem.  Why does the problem exist? What are the prime factors to this? Which audience demographic is most affected by this problem? Why?

Of all the problems in the Philippines, the issue of brain drain is not widely known or given much attention to. The problem exists because the youth of this generation (as well as the workers in present time) would rather work abroad than remain in the Philippines to work for the development of their own country. Brain drain refers to the emigration of the “white collar” workers, otherwise known as the more educated population of the country – those who were able to receive a decent education and earned a degree. Occupations differ in the white collar population: from dentists, to doctors, to writers, to engineers, etc. If people were quizzed about what one of the main problems of the country today are, majority would most likely answer the following: corruption, traffic, taxes, allocation of funds, no or slow development of the country, etc.
Also, when asked about brain drain, majority of people would most likely even question what the phrase “brain drain” means, which emphasizes on the fact that people are unaware not only the meaning of it, but also the fact that this is a problem in the country. Highlighting this – the reason why this is a huge issue is because people are ignorant of the issue. The potential of the country – the intellectual who were educated in the very country they are born in – are all leaving the country in hopes of a brighter future and more opportunities. Following up to the point, the causes to this problem are because of the current state of the Republic of the Philippines which is a third- world country. The main problems or causes are the following: first, a slow or no development in the country – the evolution of the country has not improved at all (an example would be the progression of the LRT and MRT, it remains the same as it did years ago); second, the corruption that is present in the country – although the Philippines is not a poor country because of the natural wealth and resources, the government is very corrupt, which is ironic as majority of the countries have a corrupt government but their countries are not declining; third, the poverty in the Philippines – there are so many people in the country that live and grow up on the streets, hundreds of people with no jobs, and thousands that fight hunger daily; lastly, the fact that education is seen as a lower priority in the country, if the country was more concerned into educating the street children or the criminals, then the problems of the country would most likely lessen. Those emigrating to other countries believe that if they do leave the country then the opportunities to practice their specific fields of expertise would be greater, the salaries and wages would be bigger (as compared to staying in the home country), and the future of not only the individual but their family and their offspring as well would be brighter as the lifestyle and education abroad differ from their home country. The demographic that is most affected would be the current generation and the future generations to come; people of all classes and all genders. This problem is not only limited to the Philippines, but to other countries that also experience a large amount of brain drain. The people of today plant the seeds of harvest for tomorrow, which means that whatever happens in present time will have a resounding effect in the future – whether be it a positive or a negative effect. Another way to compare the impact of this problem would be the “domino effect” – as the dominos require one action to move others, so does this problem.

How does it affect the youth now and in the future?

The problem exists mainly because of the colonial mentality of the Filipinos in the country. They view the other countries abroad as extravagant and well developed and look down on their home country, wishing to escape or get out and enjoy other more well-developed countries rather than try to fix or develop the problem of their own country. The effects of the brain drain are great as they affect not only the future of the country, but the future of the generations to come as well. If the country does not develop because all the “brains” of the country are leaving, then the future of the country would go downhill. The youth of tomorrow are greatly affected as they would be the ones residing in the country in the future. What kind of a place would the country be if the present generation abandons it as well? The country would most likely be in a worse state, than it already is at present time, in the future if the current generation and the people of the country would do nothing to improve the declining condition by applying their particular fields of expertise. After referring to a past research, majority of the current generation’s students and scholars are seen to have already given up on the country and would gladly leave, if given the option, to move to another country instead. One of the top dreams of a student in this country – aside from getting a proper and complete education and to graduate with honors –  would be to get an education abroad, or better yet, a scholarship to another country. Just from this simple observation and the mindset of the current students, one could already presume that the youth of today looks down on the education of their very country and compares it to the lifestyle and education of other countries. Referring back to the term “domino effect”, it only takes a little to create a lasting impact on people.

What are the direct or indirect solutions needed to solve that problem? 

With every problem, comes a solution. For the issue of brain drain, the solution to this concerns not only the education of the Philippines, but the living conditions as well. The main reason why people are having the desire to leave the country would be because of the hopelessness they feel whenever they see the country, especially with its downfalls – no matter how major or minor it is; they would immediately feel discouraged by the idea. If the government, or if somebody would just give the people a little bit of hope or a little bit of steady ground to hold unto, then the perspectives of the people would change. The first stage should be to show the people that the country is improving, even if the changes are small – whether it’s installing new toilets for public transportation (LRT / MRT), placing new garbage bins around the city, or repairing damaged public property. Just seeing a little change in the dull, everyday life would excite people – an example would be when the government first announced the fact that the magnetic cards for the LRT would be switched to Beep cards. The people grew excited with that idea at first because not only does it mean that improvement and progression is happening, but it also means that the country is open to ideas from other countries. The second stage would be to inflict tougher and stricter laws and regulations. Most people, especially criminals, look down on the law enforcers of the country, as the crime rate is very high. If this was improved, not only will the country be more disciplined, but it would also decrease the crime rate. The final stage would be to educate the citizens using another strategy. If the education is encouraging the graduates to leave the country, perhaps another strategy is needed.

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