Brain drain dilemma
Morris Mpala, MoB Capital Ltd
FRANKLY I don’t know whether to ululate and say I am happy that our graduates and talented skills are finding home outside Zimbabwe because we are just sharp brains like that and they bring in funds through remittances.
Or should I cry that we are losing critical skills that we might not replace and these sons/daughters of the soil are going to develop other nations at the expense of our beautiful Zimbabwe.
Allow me neither to be pessimistic nor optimistic nor say it is what it is, let’s deal with it. In the same lane allow me to be divorced of blame games that aren’t my mantra at all.
We have that disease of thinking we are far much better than what we think about ourselves (not what we are), we are just on about complaining yet check the statistical responsibility that we have on the global economy.
We have significantly contributed to the world economy in most strategic places across all echelons of management. Let the truth be told if our graduates were not that great they wouldn’t have made an impact globally as they have done. It doesn’t mean all is “honky dory” and that the Government has no shortcomings. No not at all.
Zimbabweans literally run the world and yet we have numerous economic challenges back home. Even with the least of resources we have strived for the best. Figures are there to cherish, so you can’t accuse me of being economic with the truth here. We come highly recommended yet where we are coming from there is unprecedented economic meltdown.
We have several business accolades holding Zimbabweans and yet our companies (small and big) are in intensive care units or have closed shop. We have been a dream country, Africa’s food basket, an educational utopia, a dream manufacturing hub, excellent infrastructural development, a great people with integrity for a very long time but now is the time to relook some areas and institute reforms where necessary.
Lower and higher education
The education system is not bad. Let’s not over react. It needs a bit of tweaking. This education has served us well but now seeks relevance to the dynamic environmental stimuli.
An overhaul will be ill advised, emotionally and a costly exercise.
The same applies here. This arena needs relevance to industry. Learners need to be acquainted with industry. This is the home of future innovation due to massive enthusiasm and exuberance to create new frontiers.
This segment of our population is hungry for success in any field you can think of and it is the future of the economy. Tertiary qualification is now minimal requirement, thus, one needs to bring more than just a degree to the corporate game. We need to bring back our yester-year education system and attract foreigners to our curriculum that way we attract funds instead of sending fees outside the country.
In order to aide transformational leadership in our start ups, incubation is the future. It fosters growth in the upcoming businesses in the hope that they will grow and buttress the entire economy to the benefit of everyone, thus, ring fence talent.
Another area to give appreciation of what industry is all about and gives hands on experience to the wet behind the ears under graduates or recent graduates. It goes a long way in bridging theory and practical.
This workplace experience is vital for the students as well as the curriculum. Needless to say apprenticeship approach has served the nation very well thus continuation is critical despite economic challenges bedeviling businesses at present.
The lack of balance between jobs created and those seeking jobs has created a brain drain and the country is losing talented brains to other countries.
This has affected some areas of the economy as we lost critical skills that we produced at our cost. I don’t see anything financially wrong to export graduates. It is what it is as far as our economy is but it doesn’t mean we have to stop churning out graduates.
Prior to this I had advocated for it as long as there is compensation for the developmental costs. It is also another source of FDI, skill and expertise from the graduates that leave the country.
Graduates on their own are a strategic reserve as they are trainable or malleable, they just wait for the upturn of the economy and they will play their part.
To those that consume these graduates they are better advised to help in the grooming of these brains to lessen the burden on the parent countries producing and losing them after such huge investments.
Our curriculum should include practical subjects and be relevant to industry. It’s a balancing game. Let’s not pretend as if everyone is going to be some business man and not be employed. In fact for now we need more knowledgeable employees than employers because we are at a stage where we need strategic industry firing on all cylinders. Lessen the number of years spent from kindergarten to university. It’s too long and by the time one graduates they are too old to innovate or engage in developmental initiatives as they are more worried about food on the table. That creates ‘mercenaries’ and risk-averse brains.
The emphasis on STEM is in the right direction. Vocational and agricultural colleges also complement the efforts of gravitating towards a manufacturing economy not to say other disciplines are of less relevant.
MoB Capital realises this and our ¥€$! Campaign, which is a strategic 25 year initiative, looks into grooming students into entrepreneurial beings. We have to be careful as not everyone can be an employer or entrepreneur hence the need to revive industry to absorb graduates that can’t be businesspersons. It is not the responsibility of Government only. Everyone has to play their part.
We need to build what we are calling financial belief (financial freedom, hope) in all our stakeholders only then can we be a powerhouse and yes we can be and let’s not stop nor discourage those that are willing to sacrifice to make it happen. Let’s get our economy working again.
IF YOU LIVE IN BYO PLEASE CONSERVE WATER
IF YOU LIVE IN ZIMBABWE PLEASE USE ELECTRICITY SPARINGLY: SOS (SWITCH OFF SWITCHES)
IF YOU LIVE ON PLANET EARTH PLEASE PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT
Morris Mpala is the managing director of MoB Capital, a Bulawayo headquartered micro-finance institution with footprint across the country.