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Foreign students rising at varsities

  • Md Solamain Salman
  • 8 January, 2022 12:00 AM
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Foreign students rising at varsities

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Enrolment of overseas students for public and private universities in Bangladesh has been increasing gradually, thanks to the technology and digitalisation of education.

Experts have said technology and digitalisation of education play a vital role in increasing the number of foreign students at the universities.

According to the latest annual report by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the number of foreign students admitted to the universities was 2,317 in 2020.

Of them, 767 were admitted to 23 public universities and 1,550 to 32 private universities, it said.

The number of foreign students was 482 in 2019, 804 in 2018, 461 in 2017, 355 in 2016, 593 in 2015, 432 in 2014, 326 in 2013, 525 in 2012, and 210 in 2011.

As per the data, the number of foreign students increased by 285 in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic which is a positive sign for the higher education sector.

Besides this, the number of overseas students was 1,467 in 2019, 1,386 in 2018, 1,977 in 2017, 1,927 in 2016 and 1,548 in 2015.

The number of students increased by 83 in 2020 at private universities in Bangladesh.

Now, students from 26 countries are studying at 32 private universities in Bangladesh.

The countries are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, China, Japan, USA, Yamane, Philistine, Gambia, Morocco, South Korea, Canada, Mauritania, Tanzania, Austria, Rwanda, Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Bahrain are studying.

UGC officials said at present, there is a massive digitalization of higher education in Bangladesh. The international students are attracting to the universities as the foreign students are getting scope to see information, course-curriculum, and syllabus with the help of technology.

For the massive expansion of online education worldwide, now the students from few developed countries including USA, Japan, China, and Canada are also coming to Bangladeshi for higher studies.  The image of Bangladesh is increasing to the foreign countries while the rate of earning foreign currencies is also increasing due to the admission of international students in Bangladeshi universities.

The UGC in its annual report said they are trying to ensure quality of education at the international level to keep continue the positive trend.

However, experts said it is good news that the numbers of foreign students are rising at public and private universities of the country but it is not satisfactory level.

Language-related problems, lengthy admission process, and political instability are contributing 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 the universities.

Experts have suggested updating universities websites through providing information about foreign student admissions, opening separate desk for international students and taking step for publicity and promote of universities internationally to attract foreign students in the country.

There is need of strong campaign and offer scholarships to bring foreign students, they have suggested.

Even, the country’s top Dhaka University is also failing to attract foreign students as only seven foreign students got admitted into the university in 2019-20 session and it was only two 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.

When asked, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Farid Uddin Ahmed told the Daily Sun that lack of residential facilities, plus lengthy admission process prevent the foreign students from opting for higher education at the public universities.

He also said the authorities should take initiative to make easy admission process while ensuring proper residential facilities at the universities to attract foreign students.