Tertiary scholarship schemes as institutionalised migration of highly skilled labour: The mixed evidence of development effectiveness from the Czech Republic

  • Jíří Hejkrlík
  • Ondřej Horký-Hlucháň
  • Tereza Němečková
Keywords: brain drain, brain gain, scholarship schemes, migration, high-skilled labour, development effectiveness, development cooperation


Providing scholarships has become an integral part of the global higher education and so has research on its impacts. This article examines the tertiary scholarship scheme of the Czech government for providing scholarships to students from the global South as a part of its development cooperation programme with a double goal. Firstly, it examines the programme’s development effectiveness from the perspective of migration studies, and secondly, it investigates the underlying motivation factors which influence the students’ decisions on where they will stay after their studies. A survey among students and graduates of the scheme was triangulated with quantitative data obtained from official sources. The results show a mean values of 45 percent for brain gain, meaning that almost half of the graduates do return back home after their studies, yet this situation is aggravated by a significant share of brain waste. The major factors that influence students’ migration decisions were established to be economic factors, the utility of the studies and the ease or difficulty with which they can find jobs in their home countries.

Author Biographies

Jíří Hejkrlík

born in 1976, is Vice-Dean for Education and Quality at the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. He specialises in the quality assurance of higher education and capacity building of higher educational institutions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He is also a member of the Department of Economics and Development, where he focusses on international agricultural development.

Ondřej Horký-Hlucháň

born in 1980, is Senior Researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague. His research has focussed mostly on development cooperation policies in Central and Eastern Europe. Currently he is a Visiting Researcher at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, where he has worked on research dealing with policy coherence for sustainable development.

Tereza Němečková

born in 1979, is Deputy Head of the Department of International Business at Metropolitan University Prague. Her research interests cover the economic development of Africas with a special focus on the measuring and rise of income inequalities (the middle class/poverty) and human development. She also has a special interest in Morocco.

Research Articles