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Education in Bangladesh
Ministry of Education
Minister/ Adviser for Education Nurul Islam Nahid
National education budget (2006)
Budget: US$7.7 billion (2.4% of GDP)
General Details
Primary Languages: Bengali
Compulsory Education
5 yrs
Literacy (15+)
Total: 43.1
Male: 53
Female: 35
Total: 23,907,151
Primary: 16,230,000
Secondary: 7,400,000
Post Secondary: 277,151
Secondary diploma 335,454
Post-secondary diploma 86,948
"Bangladesh Education Stats". Central Database. NationMaster. 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 

"Statistical Pocket Book-2006" (PDF). Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 

"Bangladesh". World Fact Book. CIA. 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 

The educational system in Bangladesh is three-tiered and highly subsidized. The government of Bangladesh operates many schools in the primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels. It also subsidizes parts of the funding for many private schools. In the tertiary education sector, the government also funds more than 15 state universities through the University Grants Commission.

Bangladesh conforms fully to the Education For All (EFA) objectives, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and international declarations. Article 17 of the Bangladesh Constitution provides that all children between the ages of six and ten years receive a basic education free of charge.


Education system

Bangladesh education system in brief

The three main educational systems in Bangladesh, ordered by decreasing student numbers, are:

  • General Education System
  • Madrasah Education System
  • Technical - Vocational Education System

Other systems include a Professional Education System.

Each of these three main systems is divided into four levels:

  • Primary Level (years 1 to 5)
  • Secondary Level (years 6 to 10)
  • Higher Secondary Level (years 11 and 12)
  • Tertiary Level

Tertiary education in Bangladesh takes place at 11 government and 20 private universities. Students can choose to further their studies in engineering, technology, agriculture and medicine at a variety of universities and colleges.

At all levels of schooling, students can choose to receive their education in English or Bengali. Private schools tend to make use of English-based study media while government-sponsored schools use Bengali.

Cadets in class room

Cadet colleges are important in the education system of Bangladesh. A cadet college is a special type of school-cum-college established in East Pakistan on the model of English public schools. Military education is compulsory at cadet college. The government of Pakistan established the first residential cadet college in the Punjab in 1954. Faujdarhat cadet college was the first cadet college in East Pakistan (Bangladesh), established in 1958 over an area of 185 acres of land at Faujdarhat in the district of Chittagong. At present there are 12 cadet colleges in Bangladesh.

The Madrasah Education System focuses on religious education, teaching all the basics of education in a religious environment. Islamic teachings are compulsory. Religious studies are taught in Arabic and the children also usually serve the related mosques. Students also study some or all of the courses from the General Education System. Madrasahs take in many homeless children and provide them with food, shelter and education.

The Technical and Vocational Education System provides courses related to various applied and practical areas of science, technology and engineering, or focuses on a specific specialized area. Course duration ranges from one month to four years.

ion boards conduct a scholarship examination at the end of year 5.



Tertiary education in Madrasah Education System

In Madrasah Education System, after passing 'Alim' (12th Grade), student can enroll in for 2 years long study, for obtaining a 'Fazil' level (14th Grade)as well as they can go for further general education like earning all over the universities degree, And after passing successfully they can further enroll into another 2 years long study system to obtain a 'Kamil' level (16th Grade) degree.

Tertiary education in Technical Education System

In the Technical Education System, after obtaining Diploma-in-Engineering degree (four years long curriculum), students can further pursue their educational carrier for obtaining a Bachelor degree from Engineering & Technology Universities, which offer two and a half to three year long courses for students with a Diploma-in-Engineering degree, to obtain a Bachelor degree (undergraduate degree) (16th Grade) in Engineering. Then they can enroll into post-graduate studies.

Educational management

The overall responsibility of management of primary education lies with the Primary and Mass Education Division (PMED), set up as a separate division with the status of a Ministry in 1992. While the PMED is involved in formulation of policies, the responsibility of implementation rests with the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) headed by a Director General.

The Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) and its subordinate offices in the district and upazila are solely responsible for management and supervision of primary education. Their responsibilities include recruitment, posting, and transfer of teachers and other staff; arranging in-service training of teachers; distribution of free textbooks; and supervision of schools. The responsibility of school construction, repair and supply of school furniture lies with the Facilities Department (FD) and Local Government Engineering Department (LGED). The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) are responsible for the development of curriculum and production of textbooks. While the Ministry of Education (MOE) is responsible for formulation of policies, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) under the Ministry of Education is responsible for implementing the same at secondary and higher education levels. The NCTB is responsible for developing curriculum and publishing standard textbooks.

Primary and secondary level management

The primary and secondary levels of education are controlled by the six General Education Boards, each covering a region. The boards' headquarters are located in Barisal,Comilla Chittagong, Dhaka, Jessore, Rajshahi and Sylhet . In addition, the Madrasah Education Board covers religious education in government-registered Madrasahs, and the Technical Education Board controls technical and vocational training in the secondary level.

Six region-based Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) are responsible for conducting the two public examinations, SSC and HSC, in addition to granting recognition to non-government secondary schools.

At the school level, in the case of non-government secondary schools, School Management Committees (SMC), and at the intermediate college level, in the case of non-government colleges, Governing Bodies (GB), formed as per government directives, are responsible for mobilizing resources, approving budgets, controlling expenditures, and appointing and disciplining staff. While teachers of non-government secondary schools are recruited by concerned SMCs observing relevant government rules, teachers of government secondary schools are recruited centrally by the DSHE through a competitive examination.

In government secondary schools, there is not an SMC. The headmaster is solely responsible for running the school and is supervised by the deputy director of the respective zone. Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs), however, exist to ensure a better teaching and learning environment.

Tertiary education management

Civil Engineering department of BUET, the leading institution for engineering in Bangladesh

At the tertiary level, universities are regulated by the University Grants Commission. The colleges providing tertiary education are under the National University. Each of the medical colleges is affiliated with a public university. Universities in Bangladesh are autonomous bodies administered by statutory bodies such as Syndicate, Senate, Academic Council, etc. in accordance with provisions laid down in their respective acts.

Technical and Vocational education management

The Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) is responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of technical and vocational education in the country. Curriculum is implemented by BTEB.


Rank / University

1 Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka

2 Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology, Rajshahi

3 Khulna University of Engineering and Technology,Khulna

4 Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology, Chittagong

5 Dhaka University of Engineering and Technology, Gazipur

6 Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, Dhaka

7 Islamic University of Technology, Gazipur

8 Bangladesh University Faculty of Engineering and Computer Sc, Dhaka

9 Independent University Bangladesh, Dhaka

10 Asian University of Bangladesh, Dhaka

11 North South Univeristy, Dhaka

12 BRAC University, Dhaka

13 Northern University Bangladesh 14 Darul Ihsan University, Dhaka

                        ==Non-formal primary education==

There exists a substantial number of NGO-run non-formal schools, catering mainly to the drop-outs of the government and non-government primary schools. Very few NGOs, however, impart education for the full five-year primary education cycle. Because of this, on completion of their two-to three-year non-formal primary education in NGO-run schools, students normally re-enter into government/non-government primary schools at higher classes.

There are Non-Governmental Schools (NGO) and Non-Formal Education Centers (NFE) and many of these are funded by the government. The largest NFE program is the much reputed BRAC program. However, all NFE graduates do not continue on to secondary school.

NGO-run schools differ from other non-government private schools. While the private schools operate like private enterprises often guided by commercial interests, NGO schools operate mainly in areas not served either by the government or private schools, essentially to meet the educational needs of vulnerable groups in the society. They usually follow an informal approach to suit the special needs of children from these vulnerable groups.

Similarly, in NGO-run schools there does not exist any SMC. The style of management differs depending upon differences in policies pursued by different NGOs. Some are centrally managed within a highly bureaucratic set-up, while others enjoy considerable autonomy.

Different NGOs pursue different policies regarding recruitment of teachers. Some prepare a panel of prospective teachers on the basis of a rigorous test and recruit teachers from this panel. Other NGOs recruit teachers rather informally from locally available interested persons.

Current status

Current government projects to promote the education of children in Bangladesh include compulsory primary education for all, free education for girls up to grade 10, stipends for female students, a nationwide integrated education system and a food-for-education literacy movement. A large section of the country’s national budget is set aside to help put these programs into action and to promote education and make it more accessible. Recent years have seen these efforts pay off and the Bangladesh education system is strides ahead of what it was only a few short years ago.


The educational system of Bangladesh faces several problems. In the past, Bangladesh education was primarily a British-controlled, upper-class affair with all courses given in English and very little being done for the common people. The Bangladesh education board has taken steps to leave such practices in the past and is looking forward to education as a way to provide a poverty-stricken nation with a brighter future. Bangladesh has one of the lowest literacy rates in South Asia. One study found a 15.5% primary school teacher absence rate.[1]

The low performance in primary education is also matter of concern. School drop-out rates and grade repetition rates are high.[2]. Poor school attendance and low contact time in school are factors contributing to low level of learning achievement. Further, the system lacks a sound Human Resource Development and deployment system[3] and this has demoralized the primary education sector personnel, including teachers, and contributes to poor performance. Poverty is a big threat to primary education.


  1. ^ "Roll Call: Teacher Absence in Bangladesh". 2004. 
  2. ^ UNESCO Institute for Statistics Data 2007
  3. ^ Sedere Upali M, (2000), Institutional Capacity Building Through Human Resource Development, Directorate of Primary Education/PEDPQI Project of NORAD, Bangladesh.

Further reading

ARS Partnership 137 Shantinagor, Dhaka-1217, bangladesh

External links

See also


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