From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

The Federal Government has raised concerns over imminent negative impacts of the massive brain drain being witnessed in virtually all sectors of the nation’s economy.

It said the future might not be good for Nigeria as those leaving to serve and service the economy of other countries were creating a gap between the nation’s output and input. 

Minister of State for Education, Dr. Tanko Sununu, registered the concerns in his remarks at the maiden edition of Erasmus+ National Information Day yesterday in Abuja.

He noted that a larger chunk of foreigners in America and Europe  working in key sectors and driving the economy were Nigerians, indicating that Nigeria is significantly facing brain drain in virtually all aspects.

“It’s the resilience of an average Nigerian scholar in giving service delivery, irrespective of the condition. Therefore, Nigeria becomes a melting pot of the international community to come in and harness talents and move them to serve their people.

“It is of concern to us that if we cannot match the output and input, definitely, the future may not be good for us. It is in this regard that we look closely, and we are ready to partner with the European Union (EU) and America, to protect Nigeria’s educational sector, so that we will be able to continue to produce products that can service Nigeria, and also be exported to other countries as part of our global contribution to development.”

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He said Nigeria was open to partnership, particularly with the EU and America, in order to protect Nigeria’s educational sector, and by extension, future development of the country being threatened by mass exodus of Nigerians from all sectors including education, in what is commonly referred to as ‘Japa syndrome.’

He said a guideline had been developed and endorsed by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on transnational education.

“I suggest you get hold of the document, utilise it and ensure that we produce globally accepted certification that will guarantee us the ability to contribute meaningfully to the development of our country, Nigeria, and also to other countries that depend on our services through the export of our talent.”

The minister said the Erasmus scholarship scheme was of great importance to African countries, including Nigeria, as its multinational exchange dimension of programming was aimed at promoting international collaboration, harnessing international talent, and facilitating mobility among borders for exchange of knowledge and research, and enhancing employability of candidates in various fields, among other benefits.

The EU Deputy Head of Delegation, and Head of Politics, Press and Information Section, Zissimos Vergos, explained that the Erasmus+ scholarship programme enables awardees to school and work in Europe, then return to their respective countries to impact what they have learnt, noting a drop in the number of awardees in 2023.

He said the EU was not surprised that Nigeria has the highest number of awardees in Africa and the fifth globally, considering its demographic footprint, hence, he advised interested Nigerians to pay attention to the details and quality of their applications.