A number of Bangladeshi universities are planning to enrol UAE-based students in the coming years while some of them expressed their desire to open campuses in the UAE to serve the growing tertiary education market
Date: Dubai, UAE; October 17, 2023
1. More than 14.2 million students in the GCC will look for university and medical college enrolment and Bangladesh offers a great cost-effective and high-quality higher education facilities
2. The UAE has 639 public schools and 580 private schools with a total enrolment of 287,725 students in public schools and 793,295 students in private schools, totalling 1,081,020 students.
3. Total school fee is expected to reach US$7 billion (Dh25.7 billion) in 2023, according to a report by the UAE Ministry of Economy.
4. More than 25,000 Non-Resident Bangladeshi (NRB) students currently study in different private schools and universities in the UAE.
5. GCC students could avail university education with as low as US500 per semester, or US$6,000 – US$8,000 for a four-year Bachelors (Honours) Programme and a five-year MBBS degree for as low as US$35,000 to US$40,000 – one of the cheapest accredited MBBS degrees currently available in the world.
A number of Bangladeshi universities are seeking permission from authorities to start operation in the UAE to tap the lucrative tertiary education market in the Gulf region, officials said at the two-day Bangladesh Education Forum 2023 that concluded in Dubai on Sunday.
Four Bangladeshi universities, Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, BRAC University and North-South University have now come under the 1,000 ranking by Times Higher Education. More and more Bangladeshi universities are going to be included in the ranking as the quality of the teaching and curriculum is improving fast due to stiff competition among them.
Hundreds of students and parents participated at the second edition of the Bangladesh Education Forum 2023 that took place at the Crowne Plaza, Deira, Dubai from October 14-15, 2023. It is the only international education roadshow for 163 Bangladeshi universities and 130 medical and dental colleges where more than 14,000 foreign and 4.6 million Bangladeshi students study in under-graduate and graduate programmes.
The UAE has 639 public schools and 580 private schools with a total enrolment of 287,725 students in public schools and 793,295 students in private schools, totalling 1,081,020 students. Total school fee is expected to reach US$7 billion (Dh25.7 billion) in 2023, according to a report by the UAE Ministry of Economy.
More than 25,000 Non-Resident Bangladeshi (NRB) students currently study in different private schools and universities in the UAE.
Bangladeshi universities, medical colleges and specialised institutions offers high-quality and cost-effective education to international students who could avail university curriculum with as low as US500 per semester, or US$6,000 – US$8,000 for a four-year Bachelors (Honours) Programme and a five-year MBBS degree for as low as US$35,000 to US$40,000 – one of the cheapest accredited MBBS degree currently available in the world.
Bangladeshi universities and medical colleges seek to attract a portion of these students towards medical, engineering, business and liberal arts curriculum in Bangladesh's more than 2,500 higher colleges, including 163 universities, 130 medical colleges and other specialised institutions.
“Bangladesh Government has given a high priority to education sector and the annual budget allocation in this sector has been increasing every year. That is why, we are seeing marked improvement in our education system that is producing good quality human assets,” HE Mohammad Abu Zafar, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the UAE, said.
“However, we need to improve the quality of our education more and make our students more competitive so that they can strengthen their contribution to all sectors and spheres of the society. It is heartening to see that many Bangladeshi educational institutions are attracting foreign students as well and I hope they can attract students from the GCC countries where millions of students seek enrolment in higher studies.”
Dr Biswajit Chanda, Honourable Member of the Bangladesh University Grants Commission, praised the private universities' role in expanding the education sector. “We are experiencing a greater level of compliance and improvement in their services in grooming our students, as we remain vigilant to ensure the highest quality delivered as per the vision of our government led by Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is keen to lift the country to transform it as a Developed and Smart Nation by 2041.”
“We would like to see more international forum and focussed discussions so that we could work with them closely and help them grow.”
Many Bangladeshi universities currently have secured partnerships with reputed universities in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia. They are now seeking partnerships with universities in the UAE.
Ishtiaque Abedin, Chairman of American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB), has announced scholarships to students enrolling at the AIUB from the UAE, saying, “We would like to welcome students from the GCC to Bangladesh and let me announce that any student who enrol from the UAE, will qualify for scholarships – as we want to support students in the UAE to benefit from the high-quality education that we provide.
“AIUB also has a strong eco-system of funding start-ups launched by our students and help them succeed in realising their dream. We do this through our own funding budget and also with international partners.
“We are also keen to expand our partnership network with the UAE-based universities and authorities to seek greater collaboration in innovation, scientific development, technology, in addition to student and faculty exchange programmes.”
Bangladesh Education Forum was launched in 2022 with an objective to bring Bangladeshi universities and medical colleges closer to UAE-based high school students, parents, academicians and education consultants.
Dr. Md. Sabur Khan, President of the Association of Universities of Asia & the Pacific (AUAP) – a body representing more than 1,200 universities in Asia, said, “Bangladesh is an emerging as a hub for good quality higher education market and the foreign student will multiply in the coming years. However, we want the students in the GCC countries to benefit our high-quality education that is most affordable and very cost-effective.
“The country's universities offer good quality education at the lowest tuition fees as the universities are not-for-profit institutions by law. We are witnessing increased foreign student intake amongst the 22,000 students in our campus where we have separate accommodation for boys and girls – local and international students.
“The success of Bangladesh's higher education system could be measured by the high employment rate, leadership role of the university alumnus, entrepreneurship and their success in developing technology start-ups. In addition to good academic and research facilities, international students can benefit from good accommodation, good food and good socialising facilities at the least possible cost.”
Until recently, Bangladesh was known for its large number of students studying abroad in countries such as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, and India. However, thanks to the high quality and affordable education it offers, Bangladesh is now also attracting students from a number of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian countries.
Saifur Rahman, CEO of Pan Asian Media and Organiser of Bangladesh Education Forum, said, “Bangladesh is becoming a major player in the global higher education landscape and Bangladesh Education Forum 2023 is an important event that is raising Bangladesh's profile as an attractive destination for higher studies.
“Bangladesh is emerging as a high-quality and cost-effective higher education hub that currently serves more than 4.6 million students including 14,000 foreign students from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and the GCC countries. In the GCC, the number of NRB students would exceed 100,000 – most of whom would seek higher education in Bangladesh – that makes it a large captive market for Bangladeshi universities and medical colleges.
“However, the total number of the school-students in the GCC exceeds 14 million this year. Bangladesh economy could greatly benefit if Bangladeshi universities and medical colleges can to attract a small portion of this market. Education could then become another sector attracting foreign currency that will help Bangladesh a lot by helping the foreign currency reserve at a higher level.”
The country 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.
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.
Bangladesh Education Forum is a joint initiative by Pan Asian Group, a group of Dubai-based marketing, event management, public relations and media organisations, and Spiral World, a physical and digital events management and marketing consultancy. AIUB is the Title Partner of the event.