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Education in Bangladesh

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Title: Education in Bangladesh  
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Education in Bangladesh

Education in Bangladesh
Ministry of Education
Minister/ Adviser for Education Nurul Islam Nahid
National education budget (2014)
Budget US$30.9 billion (6.82% of GDP)
General details
Primary languages Bengali, English
Compulsory Education
12 yrs
Literacy (2015)
Total 78.56% [1]
Male 85.09%
Female 72.03%
Total 33,907,151
Primary 76,230,000
Secondary 24,400,000
Post secondary 1277,151
Secondary diploma 1335,454
Post-secondary diploma 186,948

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 eighteen years receive secondary education free of charge.


  • Education system 1
    • Tertiary education in Madrasah Education System 1.1
    • Tertiary education in Technical Education System 1.2
  • Educational management 2
    • Primary and secondary level management 2.1
    • Tertiary education management 2.2
    • Technical and Vocational education management 2.3
  • English language education in Bangladesh 3
  • Non-formal primary education 4
  • Current status 5
    • Concerns 5.1
  • Environmental education 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

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 five levels:

  • Primary Level (years 1 to 5)
  • Junior Level (years 6 to 8)
  • Secondary Level (years 9 to 10)
  • Higher Secondary Level (years 11 and 12)
  • Tertiary Level

Tertiary education in Bangladesh takes place at 37 government, 80 private and 3 international universities. Students can choose to further their studies in Chartered Accountancy, 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 Bangla. Private schools tend to make use of English-based study media while government-sponsored schools use Bangla.

Cadets in class room

Cadet Colleges are important in the education system of Bangladesh. A cadet college is a room and board collegiate administered by the Bangladesh. Military discipline is compulsory at all cadet colleges. Faujdarhat Cadet College was the first cadet college in Bangladesh, established in 1958 over an area of 185 acres (0.75 km2) of land at Faujdarhat in the district of Chittagong. At present there are 12 cadet colleges in Bangladesh, including 3 cadet colleges for girls.

The Madrasah Education System focuses on religious education, teaching all the basics of education in a religious environment. Religious studies are taught in Arabic and the students in some areas also serve the local area masjids. Students also study are required by law to complete all of the courses from the General Education System. Many privately licensed Madrasas take in homeless children and provide them with food, shelter and education, e.g. Jamia Tawakkulia Renga Madrasah in Sylhet.

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.

Tertiary education in Madrasah Education System

In Madrasah Education System there are two system one is called Kaumi Madras system which are run according to the Deobandi system of Islamic education while the other is called "Alia madrasah" is just like general education, only difference is they teach Arabic as additional to the general education, after passing 'Alim' (12th Grade), student can enroll in for 3 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)from

students can further pursue their educational carrier for obtaining a bachelor's degree from Engineering & Technology Universities, and normally it takes two and half or three years long courses for students with a Diploma-in-Engineering degree, to obtain a bachelor's degree, but often in some cases these students take more than three years to complete their bachelor's degree(undergraduate degree) (16th Grade) in Engineering. Then they can enroll into post-graduate studies. Students can study CA after passing HSC or bachelor's degree subject to fulfilling entry criteria of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB).

Educational management

The overall responsibility of management of primary education lies with the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (MOPME), set up as a Ministry in 1992. While MOPME 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 DPE executed through the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED). The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) is 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 level of education is managed by the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) while the secondary level of education is controlled by the seven General Education Boards, each covering a region. The boards' headquarters are located in Barisal, Comilla Chittagong, Dhaka, Dinajpur 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.

Eight region-based Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) are responsible for conducting the four public examinations, Primary School Certificate (also Primary Education Completion Examination) (PSC), Junior School Certificate (JSC), Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (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

Entrance of, Islamic University of Technology(IUT). IUT is the only international university, powered by OIC providing engineering education in Bangladesh
Civil Engineering department of BUET. BUET is regarded as one of the best universities for engineering education in Bangladesh
Academic Building D, SUST. SUST is one of the largest science and technology universities in Sylhet

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.

There are also a number of private universities in Bangladesh.

English language education in Bangladesh

A vast number of schools in Bangladesh are English Medium schools. English Medium schools are mainly private schools where all the courses are taught in English except one Bengali Language subject at ordinary level (O Level). These schools in Bangladesh follow the General Certificate of Education (GCE) syllabus where students are prepared for taking their Ordinary Level (O Level) and Advanced Level (A Level) examinations. The General Certificate of Education system is one of the most internationally recognized qualifications, based from the United Kingdom. The Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations are English equivalent to the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) examinations respectively. Most students sit for these exams from the registered schools in Bangladesh who follow the GCE syllabus. Those who do not attend a school that follows the GCE syllabus may also sit for their Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations from British Council. These examinations are conducted under the supervision of British Council in Bangladesh.The GCE examination conducted by the British Council takes place twice a year. Currently there are two boards operating from Bangladesh for Ordinary and Advanced Level Examinations, which are Edexcel and University of Cambridge International Examinations.[2]

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. But nowadays, some NGO schools are operating into places where there are both private and government schools.

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

Girls studying at the Unique Child Learning Center in Mirpur-Dhaka

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 years ago.


The educational system of Bangladesh faces several problems. In the past, Bangladesh education was primarily a British modeled 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.[3]

The low performance in primary education is also matter of concern. School drop-out rates and grade repetition rates are high.[4] 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[5] and this has demoralized the primary education sector personnel, including teachers, and contributes to poor performance. Poverty is a big threat to primary education.

In Bangladesh, the population is very high. The number of seats available in colleges is less than the number of students who want to enroll, and the number of seats available in universities is also less than the number of students who passed higher secondary level and want to join in a university. Besides, the cost of education is increasing day by day, as a result many students are unable to afford it.

Environmental education

It is very important to overcome ignorance and mindset of the current generation regarding the climate change issues facing the nation. Certain knowledge needs to be instilled in the youth through better standardized education in a country already struggling with illiteracy and with providing basic education to the masses. Main focus should be placed on collegiate and university level curriculum as promoted by the Stockholm Conference of 1972 as the Environmental Education (EE) through the United Nations. UNESCO and UNEP joint International Environmental Education Program (IEEP) was established three years later to lead the process. In 1992, the Rio Summit adopted Agenda 21 as a blueprint of action for achieving sustainable development. The thirty-sixth chapter of the same agenda is devoted to the promotion of education, public awareness and training. This educational component ranges from structured formal education to occasional, informal vocational training and courses. Focus is constantly changing from analysis to synthesis so it is vital for everyone to understand the implications of global climate change and how their decisions and actions affect their surroundings. However, Bangladesh is having serious problems in implementation.

Although various universities have opened Environmental Science Departments since the 1990s and Khulna University is the first public university to start Bachelor program in Environmental Science in 1997. UNDP supported a holistic and comprehensive environmental science program as the Sustainable Environmental Management Program at various school levels. The main barrier was the lack of awareness among parents, which as a result affect the awareness levels of students. At times, even the teachers were not affiliated with general know-how. Most of the programs are not a standard curriculum nor are they up to the mark with the required levels. Another major road block is the lack of support from the government and the absence of senior, experienced environmental professionals, educators and other personnel.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Adult and Youth Literacy, 1990-2015: Analysis of data for 41 selected countries UIS/2012/LIT/TD/0" (PDF). UNESCO Institute for Statistics. 2012.  
  2. ^ "O level - GCE - Exams - British Council - Bangladesh". British Council. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  3. ^ "Roll Call: Teacher Absence in Bangladesh" (PDF). Site 2004. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  4. ^ "UNESCO Institute for Statistics". Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  5. ^ Seders Upali M, (2000), Institutional Capacity Building Through Human Resource Development, Directorate of Primary Education/PEDPQI Project of NORAD, Bangladesh.
  6. ^  

Further reading

  • Sedere Upali M, (2000), Institutional Capacity Building Through Human Resource Development, Directorate of Primary Education/PEDPQI Project of NORAD, Bangladesh.
  • Sedere Upali M, (1996), General Education Project (CR2118BD) Report, the World Bank.
  • Literacy In Bangladesh
  • Information Literacy: Bangladesh perspective
  • Information Literacy: A challenge for Bangladesh
  • Female Secondary School Assistance Project: Bangladesh
  • Literacy and Adult Education
  • The Girls' Stipend Program in Bangladesh
  • Country Report 2006 Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh Education Sector Overview
  • UNESCO Country Profile
  • UNESCO Information and Monitoring Sheet
  • UNESCO Survey
  • UIS Statistics
  • UNICEF Statistics
  • Bangladesh, pre-primary education and the school learning improvement plan: promising EFA practices in the Asia-Pacific region; case study
  • [Http:// Education for All 2015 National Review]

External links

  • Ministry of Education
  • Secondary Education Board
  • University Grants Commission
  • Bureau of Education Information and Statistics
  • Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education in Sylhet
  • BRAC Support to Secondary Formal Schooling: Computer Aided Learning (CAL) Programme
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