Students are leaving Africa in large numbers to study abroad and the impact of that on the continent is profound.
To migrate or not to migrate. That is the question, right? Unless you have already answered the question and answered with your feet and emigrated to a foreign land. Then maybe you would think that is the wrong question and that maybe it is more instructive to ask for the reasoning behind deciding to migrate in the first place. That might help since it avoids the assumption that emigration is a viable alternative for everyone.
Most recently, emigrating from the continent of Africa for education purposes has become more popular. In their droves, African students are leaving the ramshackle educational systems of their home countries behind and enrolling in foreign universities so much so that foreign students have become a lifeblood for universities in the West, and this has led to universities which see themselves as behind in the admission of African students organising roadshows to African countries to get a larger chunk of the ‘largesse’.
And it is really a largesse when you consider the gulf between tuition fees paid by African students in foreign universities and those paid by students from the countries where those universities are located. It could even be said that these African students are subsiding the university education of European students, which is paying a high price for receiving an education which might be better instructed back home using home grown illustrations and examples.
When some Africans are migrating for educational reasons, others are shifting continents for better career and job opportunities. This can actually be more difficult to achieve, as one can’t exactly buy one's way to a good job like one might a place in university. I am not exactly claiming the university admissions can be purchased but the point remains that having a large supply of money does help a lot.
So because it is quite difficult to achieve career progression by moving to the West, the sight of highly educated Africans doing menial jobs is a pretty common one. Of course there is dignity in labour, in any job even, but sometimes it just feels like such a waste. The continent is crying out for more efficient use of its human resources while some of its people slave away in foreign lands working graveyard shifts.
A common thread linking both ways of emigration is the innate desire to better one's fortunes even if it means leaving ones homeland. The level of brain drain in Africa cannot be a good thing for the continent and may be partly responsible for its persisting underdevelopment.
The lesson in this is, and a very instructive lesson at that, if the continent took care of its people better, maybe its people would not see reason to flee its shores. Maybe then the question of whether to emigrate or not would be a moot one.