Bangladesh - Country Commercial Guide
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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 at 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 2020-2021 academic year, 8,594 Bangladeshi students studied in the United States, ranking Bangladesh the 14th country worldwide, up from 17th place the year before, according to the Institute of International Education’s 2021 Open Doors report, which collects data from over 3,000 U.S. higher education institutions and other surveys.  According to the report, Bangladesh is among the fastest growing countries of origin for international students in the United States.  During an unprecedented pandemic with a global decrease in international students, Bangladesh only had a 2.7 percent decrease from 2020.   More than 75 percent of Bangladeshi students currently on U.S. campuses study in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

Leading Sub-Sectors

Graduate and undergraduate programs.


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


  • Bangladesh Ministry of Education
  • Bangladesh University Grants Commission