Localised education reduces brain drain

Abang Johari (centre) with Swinburne Sarawak chairman Tan Sri Morshidi Abdul Ghani (left) and its deputy vice-chancellor Professor John Wilson during the event in Kuching yesterday. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING: The establishment of an internationally recognised education institution locally has helped reduced the brain drain, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“We have no issues with students pursuing their education overseas. In fact, we encourage it as studying abroad helps to broaden one’s outlook.

“However, many who completed their studies overseas chose to stay on in their host country instead of returning home to contribute to Sarawak’s development, which is therefore a loss to the state.

“I am glad to know that more than 90 percent of Swinburne Sarawak graduates choose to remain in the state after graduating and are pursuing careers with key industry players or have set up businesses of their own to employ others,” he said.

He was officiating at Swinburne Sarawak’s 20th anniversary celebration at its campus here today.

Abang Johari said the establishment of Swinburne’s campus in Kuching has changed the higher education landscape and played a significant role in the retention of highly skilled Sarawakians who may otherwise have moved elsewhere.

“Prior to the setting up of the campus, parents had to send their children abroad and for most families this option was a very costly affair.

“Fortunately, this is now not the case because Swinburne Sarawak offers them an internationally recognised Australian education in Sarawak with the opportunity to travel to Australia on student exchange or transfer to graduate,” he said.

The chief minister said education was paramount to Sarawak’s development agenda which was also recognised by former Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud who helped set up the university twenty years ago.

“In addition, Swinburne Sarawak has helped to internationalise Kuching. Since the campus was established, there has been an influx of international students to the state.

“They contributed to the culture, economy and local businesses through expenditure on accommodation, food, entertainment and tourism. The city of Kuching has also become more cosmopolitan with their presence”.