Although the number of government and private universities and colleges has been steadily increasing since Bangladesh gained statehood in 1972, the enrollment completion rates are still very low. The major factors related to the problems of low enrollment and high dropout rates at the college and university levels in Bangladesh seem to be a combination of factors, including poverty. In a country where the per capita income is still less than US$1.00 per day, higher education may cost as much as US$400 per year. Another factor is large-scale unemployment. This is a major source of frustration among the graduates, particularly among those majoring in the liberal arts. In addition, there are problems with English as a medium in higher education. It was recently noted that more than 70 percent of the university students in Bangladesh answer their examination questions in Bangla, although the texts are in English. A lack of resources and facilities also contributes to unhappiness. The colleges and universities are often understaffed and ill-equipped, leading to frequent cases of student unrest where politically misguided and academically unsuccessful students channel their frustrations into destructive activities.
Proposed Remedies: The problems hindering higher education appear to be emphasized in Bangladeshi media, and the present government seems to be well aware of them. Both the governmental and many nongovernmental agencies have been trying to address to these issues.
In the late 1990s, the government gave priority to human resource development and emphasized "Educational for All" as a target. Recent five year plans provide for a larger proportion of national budgets for opening additional colleges and universities, especially in the area of medicine, science, and information technology. The Bangladesh National University, to which many hundreds of colleges are affiliated, is being modernized and revamped.
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