Slovakia faces brain drain as many leave for Czechia

In the past 15 years, more than 300,000 people have left the country, and among those who want to leave, only a third say they want to come back, the survey conducted by Slovenská sporiteľna also found. Those leaving are mostly the more-qualified students, the study adds. [Shutterstock/Ventura]

Two-thirds of young Slovaks aged 18-25 want or are already studying abroad due to the quality of education, with most of those who already left having picked neighbouring Czechia, a new survey has found.

In the past 15 years, more than 300,000 people have left the country, and among those who want to leave, only a third say they want to come back, the survey conducted by Slovenská sporiteľna also found. Those leaving are mostly the more-qualified students, the study adds.

The issue of brain drain has already been discussed in the country, though no specific actions have been taken so far.

The education ministry says it will offer young Slovaks grants, so they return. “We will support 1,400 students per year, of which 1,000 will be the most talented students, and 400 will be students with some kind of disadvantage,” Ľudovít Paulis, the education ministry’s state secretary said.

Companies are also feeling the effects of brain drain, and several have started their own initiatives with the aim of bringing back Slovaks.

“We are convinced that Slovakia needs people who believe in its future. Only in this way will we all live better, businessmen and businesswomen will do better, and only in this way will we all succeed together as a country,” said Dáša Juríková from Slovenská sporiteľna, one of the biggest banks in the country.

“It’s good when people try foreign experiences. They get new ideas, but then it’s good when they come back to Slovakia. That will help them and the Slovak economy as a whole,” said analyst Matej Horňák.

Most Slovaks go to Czechia because of the higher quality education and cultural proximity. In Brno, Czechia’s second-largest city, there are approximately 20,000 Slovak students.

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