Funnelling Talents Back to the Source: Can distance education help to mitigate the fallouts of brain drain in sub-Saharan Africa?

Jean-Marie Muhirwa

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This paper offers a critical reflection on theories supporting the positive consequences of brain drain (BD) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It sides with the sceptics of the power of remittances alone to offset the bleed of highly skilled professionals and foster the development of SSA. It is argued that given the intensification of BD's pull and push factors, stemming or reversing it will become even more difficult than it has been so far. Distance education (DE) is deemed to hold the potential to help tap into the BD pool of expertise and funnel it back home to contribute to the reconstruction of crumbling higher education (HE) systems in SSA. This brain circulation (BC) effort added to some benefits from remittances would help to alleviate the crippling effects of BD in SSA while, at the same time, allowing the majority of under- employed highly qualified migrants to stay current in their areas of expertise. Learning from DE past mistakes in SSA would foster the emergence of a more ecological DE approach that would foster more sustainable BC and thus mitigate the fallouts of BD.

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:

Muhirwa, J.-M. Funnelling Talents Back to the Source: Can distance education help to mitigate the fallouts of brain drain in sub-Saharan Africa? Diversities. 2012, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 45-62, UNESCO. ISSN 2079-6595. 
www.unesco.org/shs/diversities/vol14/issue1/art4

About the author:

Jean-Marie Muhirwa is a scholar in education with a specific interest in distance education and Human rights. He is also an award winning media producer. He holds a PhD in Educational Technology from Concordia University (Montreal). In his multidisciplinary capacities, Dr Muhirwa has worked with prestigious Canadian institutions such as CBC-Radio Canada, Save the Children Canada, Ecole des hautes études commerciales (HEC-Montreal), Equitas -- The International Centre for Human Rights Education, the Federal Government.

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