Large investments have been made in education in recent years and most children now attend at least a few years in school. Reading and writing skills have increased rapidly in the 2010s.
According to the UN agency Unesco, almost half of the adult population were literate in 2011, while the proportion five years later had increased to three out of four. It is especially older women and rural people who are still lagging behind. Among women in the age group 65 years and older, three out of four are illiterate. Among girls aged 15 to 24, 93 percent are literate.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Bangladesh, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
The children start school at the age of six. But some students do not complete the first five years, which are formally compulsory and fee-free. Special efforts have been made on girls and now more girls than boys go to school.
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Bangladesh in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
Many children are absent from school because they have to work to contribute to the family’s livelihood. The quality of teaching is also low. The classes are often large and the teachers poorly educated.
According to a government decision from 2010, the compulsory and duty-free school is to be extended to eight years. Furthermore, a uniform school will be created with a common syllabus that will also apply to Koran schools, so-called mattresses. The number of Koran schools has grown sharply since the 1990s. They are run privately and in some cases are a breeding ground for militant Islamism.
In early 2020, the government decided that 10,000 Rohingya refugee children under the age of 14 should attend the country’s regular school. Of the nearly one million Rohingya who lived in the country’s refugee camps, over half a million were children. Many came there during a military offensive in western Myanmar in the fall of 2017. The Dhaka government was previously negative about bringing the Rohingya children into schools, the children were instead given training in temporary centers run by the UN agency Unicef. The teaching in Bangladesh was a collaborative project between the government and Unicef. The decision was welcomed by Rohingya representatives in the camps. They felt that the measure would reduce the risk of radicalizing the refugee children.
More than half of the children attend the upper classes, which are divided into three stages in a total of seven years. The first three years must be free of charge.
The language of instruction is Bengali or English at all levels of the school. It is mainly in private schools that English language teaching is conducted.
There are many universities in Bangladesh, both state and private. The largest, oldest and most regarded is the University of Dhaka, which has sometimes been called “the Oxford of the East”.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
90.5 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
72.8 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
11.4 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
11.4 percent (2016)
The government shut down Facebook
The government shut down Facebook for 21 days (until December 10) after two men were executed for war crimes. The government justifies the censorship for security reasons.
Two more high-ranking opposition leaders are executed by hanging, sentenced for war crimes during the civil war of 1971.
IS takes on more acts of violence
IS takes on the blame for an attack on an Italian priest in Bangladesh. The priest was shot dead. Later that month, IS reports that the group is behind an armed attack on a Shiite mosque in the north of the country. One prayer leader is killed and three mosque visitors are injured when the perpetrators shoot straight into the prayers.
IS takes on attacks in the country
The Islamic State Extreme Islamist Group (IS) is blamed for two murders of foreigners as well as an explosion against a Shiite Muslim mosque in the country. Assessors are unsure if the killings were actually carried out by IS, but many fear that the country’s Muslim opposition is being radicalized as a result of the government’s reprisals against them.
The wave of violence against non-religious media workers continues
Two bloggers and two publishers are attacked with axes and machetes by mobsters. One of the publishers is brutally murdered while the other three are seriously injured.
Exchange of enclaves with India
India and Bangladesh exchange control of about 160 small enclaves on either side of the border: 111 in Bangladesh and 51 in India. Most residents choose to stay where they live but change their nationality.
A fourth blogger is murdered
A fourth non-religious blogger is killed by machete by unknown perpetrators in Dhaka.
The Islamist group ABT is banned
The Interior Ministry bans the Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), which is suspected to be behind the murders of the three bloggers.
A third blogger is murdered
The blogger Ananta Bijoy Das is hacked to death with machete by a masked gang in Sylhet in the northeast. He is the third non-religious blogger to be murdered in this way since the turn of the year. Das wrote for the blog Mukto-Mona, which was previously moderated by Avijit Roy, who was similarly murdered in February 2015.
GDP boycott disputed local elections
GDP boycott mayoral elections in Dhaka and Chittagong following allegations of widespread electoral fraud. The boycott starts when the elections have already been going on for four hours. The Election Commission declares the elections free and fair, but the US Embassy states that it has received information on electoral fraud and calls on the Election Commission to investigate the charges. The candidates for the Awami League win big in both cities.
Jamaat’s second highest leader is hanged
Jamaat-e-Islami’s Vice President Muhammad Kamaruzzaman is executed by hanging in Dhaka Prison (see May 2013). The execution leads to widespread protests throughout the country.
Secular bloggers are murdered
A blogger who has advocated secularism and criticized radical Islamist ideology is knife-killed. According to police, it is Islamist students who have murdered the blogger.
The GDP leader is arrested
A series of petrol bomb attacks target people aboard buses, trucks and passenger cars, with several deaths as a result. The attacks are happening at the same time as the GDP- led protests are going on, but the opposition party says there are no links between the events. However, the government is accusing GDP of the gasoline bombs. Khaleda Zia grips.
Famous proponent of a secular Bangladesh is murdered
Avijit Roy, American writer, blogger and Bangladeshi engineer, is murdered in Dhaka. Roy was the spokesman for the free word and for secularism. He expressed his views on his own site, Mukto-Mona, and was especially known for his criticism of religious fundamentalism. Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (Aqis) takes on the blame for the murder.
ICT issues new death sentence
Abdus Subhan, one of the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, is sentenced to death for the murder of 400 people in a village in the northern part of the country during the 1971 war.
Increased political violence
The street ravages between the country’s two rival political camps are intensifying. Government members announce that more than 7,000 people have been arrested and 31 have been killed in political violence over the past two weeks.
Tighter grip on GDP
The BNP secretary general is arrested and accused of arson, explosions and vandalism. The police hold him responsible for violent protests that have flared up around the country. The government shuts down the TV channel ETV and seizes its head since the channel sent a speech by Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique Rahman. The country’s highest court bans newspapers, radio, TV and social media from reproducing speeches and comments by Tarique Rahman.
GDP leader locked in, ban on protests
Dhaka police prohibit all public protest actions indefinitely and lock Khaleda Zia in her party headquarters. Zia had announced demonstrations until January 5, on the one-year anniversary of the elections boycotted by the opposition. According to GDP spokesmen, at least 400 party supporters are arrested. Police block off the streets until the party headquarters. Khaleda Zia calls for new elections under a neutral transitional government. She urges party supporters to block all transport by roads, railways and rivers. A national transport block is started.