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Outbound student mobility in Bangladesh

Outbound student flows from Bangladesh have surged in recent years, making it an increasingly dynamic source country of international students, akin to other South Asian countries like India and Nepal. The number of Bangladeshi nationals enrolled in degree programs abroad almost quadrupled within 12 years, from 15,000 in 2005 to 56,000 in 2017, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

While observers like the British Council foresee an overall slowing of global international student flows in the near future, Bangladesh is expected to be among a select group of countries that will sustain increases in outbound student mobility for years to come.

Among the factors driving this swelling outflow are the expansion of Bangladesh’s college-age population, capacity shortages in higher education, and the emergence of a growing middle class able to afford an overseas education, notably in major urban centers like Dhaka and Chittagong. The Boston Consulting Group has predicted that the number of middle income and affluent Bangladeshis will grow at a rate of more than 10 percent annually and increase from 12 million in 2015 to 34 million by 2025.

Outbound student flows from Bangladesh have surged in recent years, making it an increasingly dynamic source country of international students, akin to other South Asian countries like India and Nepal. The number of Bangladeshi nationals enrolled in degree programs abroad almost quadrupled within 12 years, from 15,000 in 2005 to 56,000 in 2017, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

While international degree-seeking students from Bangladesh used to opt for the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Malaysia as their primary study destinations, member states of the European Union and formerly less popular European countries have emerged as the most popular options by far in recent years.