Sunday, April 13, 2008
At the risk of sounding ingrata, I have always had the sneaking suspicion that the Australian government spending money on me is entirely for self-serving reasons. First, expenses incurred on moi counts as ODA, which relates to security concerns - i.e. you don't want basket cases for neighbours. Second, their investment on human capital undercuts handing ODA to corrupt governments. They put their money directly on me. Third, and this is the insidious part, their scholarship programs have 'harvested' the best and brightest the region has to offer. Some of the PhDs I know will be living here for three-four years. Those who will be staying for a long time have the option of bringing their families along with them. Although our contracts require us to return to our home countries, there is nothing stopping us from coming back here after two years.
Australia is one among six rich countries aggressively competing for highly skilled workers in global labour markets today. In my uni, they have seminars providing information on how graduates can stay as permanent residents. Labour shortages in OECD countries are foreseen to continue and they will be needing more and more workers to augment labour supply as their populations shrink and grow older.
Life is easier here. And although I love my country dearly, probably more than most, I am also a rational human being. I imagine the other scholars who already have their families here may find it difficult to go home in a couple of years. I think of V, who worked for the International Rice Research Institute in LB. I think of our rice shortage. I think of Australia's strong agricultural policies. Australia grows rice. I think of those educational fairs they hold every so often in Manila. You wonder why these countries are so aggressive in promoting higher education in their countries? Well because increasingly they see foreign students as 'test migrants.'
Ah, it is not looking good :(