Bangladesh to allow universities to set up campuses abroad – to boost remittance flow – and help economy grow faster
Bangladesh Education Forum, the international conference held in Dubai from November 4-6, 2022, is set to establish a strong education corridor between Bangladesh and the GCC – where more than 4 million Bangladeshis live, work and remit more than US$11.11 billion every year
Date: Dubai, UAE and Dhaka, Bangladesh; November 7, 2022
1. More than 30 million students including 4.6 million students in higher educational institutions make up Bangladesh’s education sector – making it one of the largest education services industries in the world;
2. By 2025, Bangladeshi universities, medical, dental and general colleges are expected to serve 4.6 million students. With an average annual cost of US$1,000 per year, this translates to a higher education market size of US$4.6 billion in Bangladesh;
3. Bangladesh Government has allocated US$8.14 billion (Tk814.49 billion) to education sector in the current financial year ending June 2023, of which US$3.99 billion (Tk399.61 billion) has been allocated for higher education;
4. The six Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, host more than 4 million Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) who collectively remitted US$11.11 billion (Dh40.77 billion/BTk1.22 trillion). Education sector could generate a large remittance corridor for Bangladesh.
Qualified Bangladeshi universities can now plan to expand their activities outside the country by establishing physical campuses in key target education markets beyond the country’s border – that will create a new source of remittance and increase the flow of foreign currency in the country, a senior official said on the concluding day of the three-day Bangladesh Education Forum – held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Deira-Dubai.
“Bangladeshi universities have come a long way in ensuring quality higher education in various field and this is reflected by the success of Bangladeshi professionals and entrepreneurs in very competitive foreign job market. Qualified Bangladeshi universities can apply for the opening of their campuses in foreign countries, if and when they are ready,” Dr Bishwajit Chanda, Honourable Member of the University Grants Commission (UGC), told the audiences at the concluding session of the Bangladesh Education Forum 2022, in which nine Bangladeshi universities, one UAE-based medical college and a US-based university took active part.
“Universities in Bangladesh have matured and they can now expand internationally and attract foreign students. Our role is to ensure that they do things right.
“Many of these universities and medical colleges have exceeded our expectations and are currently doing better in international university rankings. Time has come for them to induct foreign students as well as establish their presence through setting up own campuses in target education markets. However, there was never any obstacles from our side on universities planning to expand overseas.
“It was perhaps that they weren’t ready to go beyond the boundaries of Bangladesh. Things, however, have changed a lot over the last few decades. I think now many of them are ready.”
He said, many universities and medical colleges are cash-rich and have accumulated large sums of cash reserves. However, they have to identify the needs, the gaps and then apply for expansion abroad. If we find them suitable, we can give them permission to expand in other countries.
Chairmen of Board of Trustees of a number of Bangladeshi universities will now look at establishing their own campuses in certain key markets, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia – host to a large Bangladeshi diaspora.
Welcoming the decision, Dr M. Sabur Khan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Daffodil International University, said, “This is a great news for Bangladesh’s higher education sector which has matured a lot and has enough resources to expand in key international markets. We welcome this news and the vision and direction of the University Grants Commission and its leadership in guiding us.”
The six Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, host more than 4 million Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) who collectively remitted US$11.11 billion (Dh40.77 billion/BTk1.22 trillion). Bangladeshi workers, traders, businessmen, are the biggest source of the remittance. However, education could fetch more remittances in future, officials said at the Bangladesh Education Forum.
“Education sector could create a new source of remittance and foreign currency and could help our country’s economy ride out the present crisis,” he said. “The fact that the education sector could bring increased foreign exchange was never explored and I see a great potential here, especially after speaking to students, parents, academicians and educational experts,” Dr Chanda said.
“I urge our universities and medical colleges to strengthen their branding and marketing activities in key areas where the NRBs are concentrated.”
Bangladesh Education Forum 2022 – the first-of-its-kind international conference to underline the success of the higher education sector of Bangladesh and help re-positioning Bangladesh as a high-quality and cost-effective higher education destination in the world.
With a vision to attract international students to the country’s universities, medical colleges, dental colleges, general and specialized colleges, Bangladesh – which has been a net exporter of students to other countries that drained a large amount of foreign currency every year – now looks at becoming a net importer of foreign students that could fetch the country a large amount of foreign currency every year.
Bangladesh Government has allocated US$8.14 billion (Tk814.49 billion) to education sector in the current financial year ending June 2023, of which US$3.99 billion (Tk399.61 billion) has been allocated for higher education. More than 30 million students are groomed by the country’s education sector every year – making it one of the largest education service industries in the world.
By 2025, Bangladeshi universities, medical, dental and general colleges are expected to serve 4.6 million students, according to a research report. With an average annual cost of US$1,000 per year, this translates to a higher education market size of US$4.6 billion in Bangladesh, where the numbers are constantly growing due to the socio-economic growth of the country.
In order to facilitate international students’ enrollment into Bangladeshi universities and medical colleges, a global convention – Bangladesh Education Forum – was held to bring Bangladeshi universities and medical colleges closer to UAE-based university-going high school students, parents, academicians and education consultants.
Bangladesh, which hosts one of the largest education sectors in the world with 163 universities, 115 medical colleges and more than 2,500 general and specialised colleges, is now ready to attract international students and offer good quality cost-effective education to the students living in the Middle East.
Elaborating on the success of NRBs in the Gulf region, Dr Sabur Khan emphasized on entrepreneurship. “The universities in Bangladesh should develop young entrepreneurs and businesspersons, instead of job-seekers. Entrepreneurship creates new job-creators and employment opportunities through industrial investment.
“We at Daffodils International University has sharpened our focus on science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship, which will grow a long way in creating a sustainable economy,” he said.
Bangladesh Education Forum 2022 conference and exhibition brought Government Ministers, high-ranking officials, Board of Trustees of universities, vice-chancellors, academicians, education consultants, parents and students closer to develop a better understanding of the attractiveness of Bangladeshi universities and medical colleges.
About Bangladesh Education Forum
Bangladesh Education Forum 2022 is the first global convention to promote Bangladesh’s higher education in the GCC countries that will be held from November 4-6, 2022 at Crowne Plaza Deira Hotel at Salah Al Din Road in Dubai, UAE. Its objective is to increase foreign students’ enrolment into Bangladeshi universities, engineering and medical colleges and help brand and re-position Bangladesh as a destination of higher education, among the Middle Eastern audiences.
Bangladesh Education Forum 2022 will bring interested Bangladeshi universities, engineering and medical colleges closer to the international high-school students in the UAE and GCC who would be looking to enroll for universities in different countries, in 2023 and beyond through their participation at the exhibition and conference.
This way, Bangladeshi higher educational institutions will also play a role in attracting foreign currency by offering quality degree programmes to international students. Enclosed please find the details of Bangladesh Education Forum 2022.