Learning in Bangladesh

The government has made primary education both compulsory and free of charge for the first eight years. Primary education begins at age six and lasts for five years. Secondary education begins at age eleven. It lasts for seven years, with a first cycle of five years and a second cycle of two years. At least one-third of all children, however, are not enrolled in school.

 For families that can afford it, private schooling is an option. Secondary schools charge fees for tuition, books and supplies. Secondary schools and colleges in the private sector vastly outnumber government institutions.

The literacy rate in Bangladesh is low and the government has undertaken an adult literacy program to eradicate illiteracy by the year 2000.

 Life in the countryside can be a struggle and families often need every available pair of hands to help out. Education of both boys and girls is encouraged. Rural girls, who may be expected to care for younger siblings, however, are less likely to attend school than boys. In urban areas, girls receive more encouragement to get an education.

Did you know? 

Probably nowhere in the world do students play such a pivotal role in the politics of a country as the students of Bangladesh. They participated fully in the war of liberation in 1921. 


Bangladesh has about 31,700 elementary and high schools. Instruction at these schools, colleges and universities is in Bangla and English.

 There are many universities in Bangladesh. The two largest are the University of Dhaka, founded in 1921 and the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, founded in 1962.

 There are 170 colleges and technical schools. Colleges include the Bangladesh College of Textile Technology. Recent figures put the country's combined college and university enrollment at 500,000. Academics and scholars from Bangladesh work at institutions around the world.