Flying Brains: A Challenge Facing Iran Today

By Kamyab, Shahrzad | International Educator, July/August 2008 | Go to article overview

Flying Brains: A Challenge Facing Iran Today


Kamyab, Shahrzad, International Educator


TODAY IRAN SUFFERS A MAJOR LOSS of intellectuals, scientists, medical doctors, and academic elites. According to the International Monetary fund (IMF), which surveyed 91 countries, Iran has the highest rate of brain drain in the world: every year, 150,000 educated Iranians leave their home country to pursue better opportunities abroad. Iranian experts put the economic loss of brain drain at some $50 billion a year or higher, making the exodus of an inventor or scientist comparable in local terms to the eradication of 10 oil wells.

The desire among Iran's elites to seek higher education degrees abroad goes back to the early nineteenth century, but the phenomenon of brain drain is a contemporary one. The main purpose of leaving the home country in those days was to attend foreign universities in Europe, especially in France, and Germany, to acquire expertise in the fields of engineering, medicine, and military sciences that would be applied at home. Even then, fascination with Western culture or intermarriage motivated some Iranian students to remain abroad, but the majority of students-especially those on government scholarships, which often stipulated that the expertise acquired abroad be applied at home-returned to Iran after their studies ended.

Unemployment/Underemployment

Numerous factors contribute to the current unprecedented outflow of human capital from Iran. According to economists, Iran needs to create more than a million jobs a year just to keep pace with its growing population. In reality, only about 300,000 new jobs are added each year, creating high unemployment rates among educated youth (one out of 10 unemployed youth hold a university degree).

Official statistics have set the rate of unemployment at 15 percent. Only 75,000 of the 270,000 university graduates who enter the labor market each year will find jobs, creating a situation in which university graduates must line up with the rest of the population in search of sources of income. The jobs that they find often have little to do with their studies and specialization. Many young educated Iranians have left or are actively seeking employment in the countries of the United Arab Emirates, India, Turkey, and Australia-or anywhere they can obtain a visa.

Universities' Intellectual Atmosphere

In addition to economic hardships, the intellectual atmosphere at universities does not encourage qualified academics to remain. Scholars and scientists feel excluded from decision making their expertise qualifies them for and believe their work is unappreciated. An Education Ministry official states that a large number of university scholars who go abroad on sabbaticals contact their home institutions requesting unpaid leave: a tacit way of acknowledging they intend to stay abroad. Officials attribute this to lack of resources, including insufficient research facilities and laboratories, a lack of new books and access to education Web sites as well as low salaries.

Concours

An often unacknowledged factor in brain drain is the rigorous examination required for a student to gain a place at a national university. This exam, known as the Concours is so competitive that students often spend a full year preparing for it. In Iran, culturally and historically, admission to universities especially prestigious ones has been viewed as a means of social mobility, enabling an individual to secure an elevated status through the acquisition of a well-respected profession such as medicine or engineering. The Concours is so rigorous and the seats available at universities so limited that normally only 10 percent of applicants gain admission. Although in recent years the establishment of a number of new higher education institutions, especially the creation of Azad University (a semi-private, open university), has been instrumental in accommodating the ever-increasing demand for higher education in Iran. Still, many students failing the Concours opt to leave the country to attend foreign colleges and universities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Flying Brains: A Challenge Facing Iran Today
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.