Bangladesh - Country Commercial Guide

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-17


The Government of Bangladesh has made laudable progress in expanding access to education and improving educational attainment rates since the country’s independence in 1971.  The net enrollment rate in primary education reached 98 percent in 2018, according to the Government of Bangladesh’s 2019 Annual Sector Performance Report.  Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics figures indicate the adult literacy rate increased from 46 percent in 2001 to 73 percent in 2018.

Bangladesh’s tertiary education is made up of three systems:  universities/colleges, madrasa or Islamic education, and vocational education/trade schools.  Although enrollment rates for tertiary education doubled over the past decade, they remained at only 20.57 percent in 2018, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics( 

The lack of high-quality educational opportunities which meet international standards, combined with the growing college-age population and the emergence of a growing middle class, has led to a surge in outbound student flows from Bangladesh.  The number of Bangladeshi nationals enrolled in degree programs abroad almost quadrupled in the 12 years between 2005 and 2017, from 15,000 to over 57,000, according to UNESCO. 

In the 2019/2020 academic year, 8,838 Bangladeshi students studied in the United States, making Bangladesh the 17th top country worldwide sending students in the United States, up from 20th place the year before, according to the Institute of International Education’s 2020 Open Doors report.  According to the report, Bangladesh is among the fastest growing countries of origin for international students in the United States.  with the highest percentage growth among the top 20 countries and the highest increase in the South Asian region.  More than 75% of Bangladeshi students currently on U.S. campuses study in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).  Of the STEM students, some 41 percent study Engineering, 19 percent study Math/Computer Science, and 15 percent study Physical or Life Sciences.  Other popular categories outside the STEM fields include Business/Management (nearly seven percent of students) and Social Sciences (nearly six percent of students).

According to data attributed to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bangladeshi students in the United States had a $307 million economic impact in the 2018/2019 academic year.

Leading Sub-Sectors

Graduate and undergraduate programs.


Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, economics, and business studies.


Bangladesh Ministry of Education

Bangladesh University Grants Commission