Are Romanians studying abroad willing to come back?

Postat la 08 decembrie 2009 59 afişări

An idea launched quite a while ago, namely that if the Romanian youth getting an education at the best universities in the world, our elite, were to come back home to work, Romania’s economy would progress faster. However, if you talk with the Romanian students or professors abroad, they will say their desire to have a successful career is hardly compatible with the society back home.

Are Romanians studying abroad willing to come back?

Although they do hope that things will get better in Romania,few of them actually want to return now, "with the definite purposeof changing things for the better in Romania," as one of themsays.
Mihai Dudu]= is a student of one of the best universities in theworld, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has afull scholarship, works in the campus, in research; he is a memberof the schoolís dance team and wins invention contests.

He has a promising future and is happy with his life as it is now.Would he be willing to return to Romania? "No. I am not tempted togo back to my country. I for one want to become as good as I can inwhat I do and I would not have the resources for that in Romania."This is his answer and the answer of many other Romanians, eitherstudents or people who completed their education abroad and choseto stay there.

Both the business community and the government want to findleverage to make experts trained abroad return home. The problems,however, come up when trying to figure out what positions could begiven to these young people upon their return. The state grantedapproximately 150 Special Scholarships of the Romanian Government(BSGR) from 2004 through 2007, with 100 students completing theprogramme already. To qualify for the scholarship, the studentswere required to return to Romania to take management positions inthe public sector for three to five years. Only a mere 20 studentsare working in the local public sector for the time being, and suchscholarships have not been very tempting for Dudu]= or for thefriends he talked with, either. That is because, he believes, it ishard to choose what you want to do between 22 and 28 when you are18.

Andrei Caramitru, managing partner of the local office ofconsultancy firm McKinsey, pointed out in a previous conversationwith BUSINESS Magazin that attracting Romanian elites from abroadis a joint responsibility, of the state and private companies. Asfar as the latter are concerned, they not only do not try to getsuch a graduate, but most of them, except for multinationals, donot even realise how important such a thing is.

The consultant said that what is essential for education is thecooperation between the public and the private sectors, using theCanadian or Swiss model (Caramitru went to college in Switzerlandand lived there for 13 years), where the government thoroughlyresearches what fields need personnel, disseminates the data to theeducational system and always adjusts supply to meet demand. To dothat, however, Caramitru went on, we would require more practicaland vocational schools, which could supply personnel exactly wherethe economy needs it.

In some cases, though, the need to recruit staff for a specificcompany leads to greater initiatives. In August, the Dinu PatriciuFoundation and the League of Romanian Students Abroad launched thejoburilaorizont.ro project in order to get Romanian graduatesabroad to come home. The foundation has been granting 100scholarships worth 15,000 dollars for master or doctoral studiesabroad every year since 2008.

The students are bound to come back and work in Romania either inthe public or the private sector for a period equal to that spentstudying. This year 32 students who got a scholarship are expectedto come back until December. Out of them, says Tincu]a Baltag, thegeneral manager of the foundation, 16 have already returned andsome have even managed to get a job with multinational companies."One of them informed us he would start his own business, whichwill create several tens of jobs," Baltag says.

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