Friday, December 16, 2005

Ulster Unionist Party worried about "brain drain"

BBC News:

The "brain drain" which sees many young people leave Northern Ireland to study and find jobs elsewhere must be reversed, the UUP has urged.

The party said more student places should be available at local further education colleges and universities.

It is launching a new policy aimed at ensuring talented students stay in NI.

Earlier this year, University of Ulster chancellor Sir Richard Nichols said 75% of the 14,000 who study in Great Britain did not return.

Sir Richard said Northern Ireland was "haemorrhaging" thousands of talented graduates each year.

He said the province was the only UK region with a fixed ceiling on the numbers that could be admitted to the two local universities.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said there were 10,000 fewer university places in NI than there were students.

"Our concern is that we are having a lot of very bright students going across the water to university, because they have no choice in many cases," he told BBC News.

"But a very high proportion of those - at least two-thirds - are not coming back.

"It is good to have a flow of people going away and getting new ideas and coming back.

"The problem is that other regions - Scotland, Wales, the north-east of England and many of the states in the US - have strong policies to try and bring those students back with their expertise.

"Unfortunately, at the moment Northern Ireland doesn't have such a policy."

The fact that it is the UUP who are complaining about this "brain drain" seems to indicate that it largely involves the British colonial population. If this is the case then let the "brain drain" continue.


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