Revisiting Tertiary Education System in Bangladesh: In Quest for Unraveling Existing Issues and Challenges

Shah Md Azimul Ehsan


Once termed as a basket case, Bangladesh is now a development wonder. Recently, it has entered the cluster of lower-middle-income countries and is predicted to join the cohort of developed ones by 2041. However, the challenge that lies ahead is to sustain the current economic growth with the emerging threat of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). There is no doubt that the country have the upper hand in order to counter these emerging critical scenario with its huge number of youths. Nonetheless, it will be pertinent to turn these youth force into productive human capital through providing both general and technical education in order to yield higher returns. On this backdrop, this study attempts to know whether our existing tertiary education system is rendering quality education to convert our youth force into effective human resources. Using qualitative tools of social research and drawing information from various secondary sources, the study argues that the existing tertiary education system is failing to produce skilled human resources which is again resulting in lower returns to the economy.  Undoubtedly there has been quantitative progress in tertiary level education; nevertheless, the worrying factor has been regarding its quality. The crisis has not happened owing to the absence of adequate policy framework rather the translation of those into reality. This study offers a modest suggestion to take immediate steps by the government of Bangladesh to implement the recommendations as stated in the key policy instruments related to education and skill development along with the significant increase in the budgetary allocation for the tertiary education sector. In addition, efforts has to be put for transforming the existing University Grants Commission (UGC) into Higher Education Commission (HEC). Moreover, activation of the accreditation council is now a crying need for further improving the quality of education at the tertiary level.


Bangladesh; Education; Employment; Labor Force; Skills; Tertiary

Full Text:



Ahmed, H. (2019a). Enhancing quality of education. Received from The Financial Express website:

Ahmed, S. (2019). Higher education and its purpose for Bangladesh. Received from The Independent website:

Ahsan, S. (2019). Tertiary Education in Bangladesh: A Sector in Need of Reform. Received from Data BD website:

Andaleeb, S. S. (2019). Future readiness of Bangladesh’s higher Educational Institutions. Received from The Daily Star website:

Ansell, N. (2005). Children, Youth and Development (Taylor & F). USA: Routledge.

BIDS. (2019). Tracer Study of Graduates of Universities in Bangladesh. Received from

Boudon, R. (1974). Education, Opportunity and Social Inequality. New York: John & Wiley and Sons.

Chen, Z., & Wu, Y. (2007). The relationship between education and employment: A theoretical analysis and empirical test. Frontiers of Economics in China, 2(2), 187–211.

Daily Star. (2018). Three of four madrasa students remain jobless. Received from The Daily Star website:

Debbarman, S. (2019). An analysis of labor market integration of visible minorities in Canada: the case of South Asians. University of Manitoba.

Fasih, T. (2008). Linking Education Policy to Labor Market Outcomes. Washington: The World Bank.

Financial Express. (2019). Highly qualified but unemployed! Received from The Financial Express website:

Government of Bangladesh. (2010). National Education Policy 2010. Received from

Government of Bangladesh. (2011). National Skill Development Policy 2011. Received from International Labour Organization website:

Government of Bangladesh. (2015). 7th Five Year Plan (SFYP) 2016-2020 Accelerating Growth, Empowering Citizen.

Government of Bangladesh. (2018). Strategic Plan for Higher Education in Bangladesh: 2018-2030. Received from University Grants Commission of Bangladesh website:

Hirsch, F. (1977). Social Limits to Growth. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Hossain, M. (2019). Quality of Higher Education and University Ranking. Received from Daily Sun website:

ILO. (2013). Global Employment Trends 2013. In Recovering from a second jobs dip. Genève: International Labor Organization.

Islam, M. (2016). Future of higher education in Bangladesh. Received from The Daily Star website:

Mannan, A. (2015). Tertiary level education in Bangladesh needs relaunching. Received from Daily Sun website:

Mannan, A. (2017). Achieving our higher education targets. Received from The Daily Star website:

Momin, S. (2019). Employability and education. Received from The Independent website:

Momin, S. M. (2016). Ensuring quality in higher education. Received from The Independent website:

New Age. (2019). Tertiary education purpose lost in HEQEP project. Received from New Age website:

Pagés, C., & Stampini, M. (2009). No education, no good jobs? Evidence on the relationship between education and labor market segmentation. Journal of Comparative Economics, 37(3), 387–401.

Rahman, S. (2019). Are educational institutions failing the RMG industry. Received from The Daily Star website:

Rahman, T., Nakata, S., Nagashima, Y., Rahman, M., Sharma, U., & Rahman, M. (2019). Bangladesh Tertiary Education Sector Review: Skills and Innovation for Growth. Received from World Bank website:

Rashid, H. (2018). Varsity accreditation council in a month. Received from The Independent website:

Reza, S. (2019). Bangladesh education systems and employment markets : Challenges and way out. Received from The New Nation website:

Robinson, P. B., & Sexton, E. A. (1994). The effect of education and experience on self-employment success. Journal of business Venturing, 9(2), 141–156.

S, B. G. (1962). Investment in human capital: A theoretical analysis. Journal of Political Economy, 70(5), 9–49.

Schultz, T. W. (1961). Investment in human capital. American Economic Review, 51, 1–17.

Schultz, T. W. (1975). The value of the ability to deal with disequilibrium. Journal of Economic Literature, 13(3), 836–868.

Sharma, S. (2016). Relation between education and employment outcomes in the Indian labor market: A critical review of the literature. International Journal of Research in Economics and Social Sciences, 6(4), 43–55.

Spence, A. M. (1973). Job market signaling. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 88, 355–374.

Tellegen, B. G. (2013). The Relationship between Education and Labor Market in the Current Context of Sub-Saharan Africa. Utrecht University.

Thisse, J., & Zenou, Y. (2000). Skill mismatch and unemployment. Economics Letters, 69(3), 415–420.

Thurow, L. C. (1975). Generating Inequality. New York: Basic Books.

Topader, R. (2019). Challenges of quality higher education. Received from The Independent website:

UNESCO. (2012). EFA Global Monitoring Report: Youth and Skills. In Putting Education to Work. France: UNESCO.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Journal of Contemporary Governance and Public Policy

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License
Journal of Contemporary Governance and Public Policy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Web Analytics View My Stats