Danes attract the brains

May 21, 1999

A pioneering Danish initiative is daringly taking brain-drain from the arena of the free market forces into the governmental sphere. Denmark is short of engineers, so is eastern Europe.

But Denmark has more money and the Danish employer organisations have together convinced the education ministry that some of that money would be well spent on buying in human resources from under-resourced countries.

Through a pilot project and backed by a government grant of Pounds 4.5 million, the consortium will attract 200 of the brightest students from the Baltic and other eastern European countries to Denmark.

The lures are a full study grant for a Danish Masters degree, a practical placement in a co-operating Danish company, and a residence permit for those who afterwards wish to convert their efforts into Danish Krone, rather than their local currency.

Partners in eastern Europe were not consulted about the project. According to Anders Berg-S?rensen, who co-ordinated the evaluation of the proposal at the Danish Education Ministry there was no need for that.

He said: ''We have our own regional specialists and the proposal went past our Baltic and eastern Europe experts."

But both the ministry and the consortium are aware of the moral aspects of the venture. In the project proposal moral objections are compensated with the argument of mutual benefit; some students will return to their home-countries and thus serve their own national development.

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