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Student emigration - outlying cantons are losing bright minds

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Peripheral cantons bear the costs of their residents' university education - but suffer from their emigration.

This week marked the start of studies for thousands of prospective academics. For students from the peripheral and mountainous cantons in particular, this means moving to the university towns. A large part will no longer withdraw after completion. In this way, some gain highly qualified residents, while others lose them. The phenomenon is known as «brain drain».

Net winners: university cities

Carole Zahn is one of the emigrants. The Thurgau native moved to Basel to study medicine. "I can remember; At the beginning I often went back to Thurgau, ”says the assistant doctor. But the longer she was away from home, the fewer the visits. Back to Thurgau was out of the question after graduation. The center of her life had shifted to her new home. Today she works in the Männedorf Hospital in the canton of Zurich.

The figures from the Federal Statistical Office clearly show that peripheral and mountain cantons such as Thurgau are suffering from the loss of university graduates. The main net winners, on the other hand, are the large university cantons of Zurich, Bern and Vaud.

The best don't come back

Stefan Wolter is an education economist at the University of Bern and is familiar with the migration flows of academics. Cantons without universities have a double disadvantage, he notes. "Less than half of the students who have left the canton come back at all." And among the returnees are not the best students.

This is a losing proposition for the cantons that sent the students.
Author: Stefan WolterEducational economist, University of Bern

Above all, this has financial consequences, says Wolter. "The problem here is that these cantons have taken over practically all of the study costs, but the taxes are then paid in a different location." It means a losing business for the cantons who have sent the students.

With jobs and education against «brain drain»

The urban cantons certainly offer the highly qualified workforce advantages, says Cornelia Regli from the canton of Uri. She and her husband, who is also from Uri, stayed in Zurich for professional reasons after completing their studies. Til today. A return was not ruled out. Cornelia Regli thought that the moment to return would be when she and her husband had children at the latest.

The aim is really that we bring jobs to the canton of Uri. In my opinion, this is key.
Author: Urban Camenzind, Director of Economic Affairs Uri / CVP

In the end, however, the opposite occurred. "The network, the friends and the childcare facilities: I find that very valuable here," she says. The lawyer is thus in the vast majority of the Uri academics who did not return to their old homeland.

Around 20 years ago, the canton of Uri lost almost all of its university graduates. Today it is around half, says Urban Camenzind, economic director of the canton of Uri.

According to Urban Camenzind, the work is still not finished. The creation of jobs and a strong education system for people from Uri could help, he says. And: "We want to offer an environment that makes the canton of Uri attractive for young families with children." “Brain drain” remains a challenge, however, because urban centers are superior to the peripheral and mountain cantons in terms of jobs, wages and cultural offerings.

SRF 10vor10, 14.09.2020, 9:50 p.m. / shs; stih

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  • Comment from Ekkehard Spilling (Elling)
    Why is it that everyone falls for this crude suggestive article so easily? Have you ever looked at what UZH alone costs the canton per year? If the state monopolizes education, it must of course also pay for it. It goes without saying that the cantons that are not doing anything in certain areas are asked to pay. Anyone who talks about "losing money" is practicing dumbing down the people ...
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Lily Mathys (All taken)
    I don't have any VS classmates who have returned. Neither from ZH nor Lausanne. Why? Trivial, there weren't any jobs for any of us!
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Christian Baumann (Christian Baumann)
      Yes, there are exciting jobs for highly qualified people in Valais - at Lonza! If you and your fellow students apply, however, you first have to grapple with the online recruiting of this company and must first sell your university degree in life science to a recruiter who has a background in psychology, education, sinology or theology (if the recruiter is still a human and not a computer).
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. answer from Christian Baumann (Christian Baumann)
      My hypothesis: The companies in the outlying cantons are to blame if they cannot find the ideal candidates. I can only recommend every university graduate to do the same if they don't find a job straight away after graduation: Go abroad for a few years (and leave these fringe cantons behind).
      Agree agree to the comment
    3. Show answers
  • Comment from Peter Meier (peme)
    According to SVP logic, we would have to abolish the PFZ between the cantons .....
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Manuela Fitzi (Mano)
      According to everyone else's logic, brain drain isn't that bad ...
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers

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