Brain Drain: A Concerning Trend in Nepal

Published On: November 5, 2023 09:30 AM NPT By: Krishna Verma

Frequent political changes and uncertainties in Nepal have contributed to the brain drain.

One of the primary factors driving Nepali students to study abroad is the limited availability of higher education opportunities within the country. Nepal has a limited number of universities and colleges, resulting in intense competition for admission.

Brain drain, the emigration of highly skilled and educated individuals from one country to another, has been a growing concern for our nations. Every day we are saying congratulations, goodbye; have a safe journey etc to lots of photos of our relatives, colleagues, family members or any one of them on social sites, who are flying aboard.  And we have been hearing there is no future here from all adults and their guardians too.  If it's not stopped, after 5-10 years, there will be only newborn children and retired members of our society. No one will be here to serve family, society, and the nation too.  In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of Nepali students opting to pursue higher education abroad. This trend has caught the attention of educators, parents, and policymakers alike. While Nepal has made commendable progress in its education system, various factors contribute to the growing inclination of Nepali students to seek educational opportunities outside their home country. In this article, we will explore some key reasons behind this shift and discuss the potential benefits and challenges associated with it.

Education is not of the priorities

Education has a great role in the country's development, progress, good governance, morality, etc. Education and health are the first priority of every nation. But education is not a priority in our country. If you need to get a job, you have to be on a committee. Due to this, our education is often destroyed. Everyone cannot get the same education. Education has made the difference between the rich and the poor.

Political Instability

Frequent political changes and uncertainties in Nepal have contributed to the brain drain. Unstable governments, policy inconsistencies, and lack of investment in critical sectors create an unfavorable environment for professionals looking to establish their careers and contribute to national development.

Limited Higher Education Opportunities

One of the primary factors driving Nepali students to study abroad is the limited availability of higher education opportunities within the country. Nepal has a limited number of universities and colleges, resulting in intense competition for admission. The high demand often leads to an insufficient number of seats, making it challenging for every deserving student to secure a place. As a result, students look for alternative options abroad, where they can explore a broader range of academic programs.

Quality Education and Global Recognition

Pursuing quality education is a significant motivating factor for Nepali students to study abroad. Many international universities and colleges are globally recognized for their academic excellence and state-of-the-art infrastructure. Students believe that studying in such institutions can provide them with a competitive edge in the job market and enhance their future career prospects. Additionally, exposure to diverse cultures and perspectives can broaden their horizons and develop a global mindset, which is increasingly valuable in today's interconnected world.

Specialized Fields of Study

Nepal's education system may not always offer a wide array of specialized courses or programs to cater to every student's interests and career goals. Many students aspire to pursue fields of study that are not widely available or adequately developed in their home country. Disciplines such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development are rapidly evolving, and studying abroad provides Nepali students with the opportunity to explore these emerging fields and gain expertise. Our existing universities have not changed their curriculum over time, we are obliged to study old courses and are not trying to change it. 

Research Opportunities and Funding

Research opportunities play a crucial role in shaping a student's academic and professional trajectory. While Nepal has made progress in research and development, the availability of vigorous research infrastructure and funding is limited. International universities often offer extensive research opportunities, state-of-the-art laboratories, and access to leading scholars and experts. Additionally, many institutions provide scholarships, grants, and financial aid packages that make studying abroad more financially feasible for Nepali students.

Career Prospects and Networking

Studying abroad can significantly enhance a student's employability and networking opportunities. Many international universities have strong ties with industries and provide internships, co-op programs, and career placement services. Nepali students, by virtue of their international exposure and education, can develop valuable connections with professionals and organizations both within and outside their field of study. These connections can open doors to global job markets and provide a competitive edge when seeking employment.

Social and Economic Factors

Limited access to quality healthcare, education and a high cost of living are additional factors that drive professionals away from Nepal. Concerns about social stability, corruption, and lack of security also influence the decision of many skilled individuals to leave the country.

Challenges and Considerations

While studying abroad offers numerous benefits, there are challenges that Nepali students may face. Adapting to a new culture, language barriers, homesickness, and adjusting to different educational systems can pose initial challenges. Moreover, the financial burden of studying abroad, visa regulations, and the separation from family and friends can be emotionally and financially demanding. It is essential for students and their families to carefully consider these factors before making a decision.


The growing trend of Nepali students shifting abroad for education is driven by a combination of factors, including limited opportunities, discriminated education system, no accessible and affordable education, a desire for quality education, specialized fields of study, research opportunities, social and economic factors, education priorities and enhanced career prospects. While there are challenges involved, the benefits of studying abroad can be significant in terms of personal growth, academic development, and future career opportunities. As the trend continues to rise, it is important for stakeholders to work together to improve the higher education system in Nepal, creating more opportunities for students to pursue their academic aspirations within the country. 

The onus is on the policymakers and stakeholders to improve education, which in turn will improve everything. If they do not pay attention to this, our literacy rate and population will decrease. Nepal can begin to reverse the brain drain by taking effective measures. Creating an environment that nurtures talent and provides rewarding career prospects is crucial for retaining skilled professionals and driving sustainable growth in the nation.

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