Sunday, December 27, 2009

UNESCO fights brain drain with computing gain

The Brain Gain initiative is a digital infrastructure linking African and Arab Region universities to global knowledge

The migration of highly-skilled people is having a significant impact on higher education and research, as universities and research centres have to adjust to increasingly mobile, competitive labour markets, and strive to retain highly-skilled professionals.

In an effort to change this trend, UNESCO and HP joined forces in 2003 to develop several projects, using innovative technology to create a “brain gain” for regions that are particularly impacted by the exodus of academics and scientists.

Many skilled expatriates, wherever they may be located, have the potential and the willingness to contribute to the development of their home country, and information and distributed computing technologies provide a new way to enable distance cooperation.

A digitally literate generation of young people will be able to take advantage of the opportunities provided by access to virtual classrooms and virtual laboratories. Remote access to rare or expensive resources can help small, low-budget universities enjoy access to infrastructure of the same quality as large, well-endowed ones.

In 2009 UNESCO and HP agreed to scale up the initiative to help create a sustainable university e-infrastructure for science, bringing together higher education institutions and research centres in Africa and the Arab States region and allowing them to pursue innovative education projects.


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