The enrollment of overseas students into the Bangladeshi universities has nosedived as the tertiary educational institutions have failed to live up to their expectations.
Lack of facilities and promotional activities, plus lengthy admission process prevent the foreign students from opting for higher education in Bangladesh, according to UGC.According to the latest annual report of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the number of foreign students at the country’s universities were 804 at 23 public universities while 1,386 at 37 private universities in 2018.
Experts said the number of foreign students in Bangladeshi Universities is very poor against the 40 public and 105 private universities in the country.
Language-related problems, lengthy admission process, and political instability are also the reasons for the poor number of overseas students at the varsities, experts say.
They also said the universities cannot attract foreign students due to lack of good ranking of Bangladeshi universities in world QC ranking, publicity, scholarship, and Bangla medium teaching in many departments and political unrest at universities.
Talking to daily sun, former UGC chairman Prof Abdul Mannan said, “The Bangladeshi Universities cannot attract foreign students as we are failing to internationalise our education.”
He said, “Different universities of other countries like the UK, Malaysia and India are holding fair regularly for attracting international students. But our universities do not arrange any fair for overseas students.”“There is the need of some basic facilities including residential and security for international students but they are hardly available at the Bangladeshi universities.”
Most universities don’t update their websites. They don’t provide any information about foreign student admissions on their websites and not take any step for publicity and promote their university internationally, he said. He stressed the need for updating the university curricula regularly and opening separate desk at universities for foreign student admission so they can easily apply to the Bangladeshi universities.
Prof Mannan, also former VC of Chittagong University, said it is necessary to conduct strong campaign and offer scholarships to bring foreign students. The country’s public universities are lagging far behind private universities in terms of attracting foreign students in the last couple of years but the number of foreign students suddenly increased by 343 at public varsities in 2018.
UGC statistics said the number of foreign students was 359 at public universities in 2010 while 210 in 2011, 525 in 2012, 326 in 2013, 432 in 2014, 593 in 2015, 355 in 2016, 461 in 2017 and 804 in 2018.
As per the data, the number of foreign learners increased by 343 in 2018 which is a positive sign. On the other hand, the number of overseas students was 1,548 in private universities in 2015 while the number was 1,927 in 2016, 1977 in 2017 and 1386 in 2018.
The number of students decreased by 591 in 2018 at the non-government universities.
UGC report said students from different countries including some development countries like America, China, Australia, and England are coming for higher study in Bangladesh. It is increasing the status of Bangladesh abroad while the country is getting foreign currencies.
Sources said the country’s top Dhaka University is also failing to attract foreign students as only two foreign students got admitted into the university in 2017-18 session, 16 in 2016-17, four in 2015-16, eight in 2014-15 and 11 in 2013-14 academic session for pursuing higher studies.
DU Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic) Prof Dr Nasreen Ahmad told daily sun that foreign students are losing interest to study at Bangladeshi universities including Dhaka University mainly due to language-related problem.