Market profile: Bangladesh is a growth enabler

August 31, 2023
[caption id="attachment_1862" align="alignleft" width="860"]Bangladesh is a growth enabler Photo: Pexels[/caption] Bangladesh is occasionally disregarded as a crucial differential student recruiting market for enabling expansion and diversity, even if Nepal and Bhutan are frequently mentioned as exciting growth areas. With 12,700 students registered in British universities, Bangladesh has become one of the source markets for the UK higher education industry that is expanding the quickest, increasing by 91% during the academic years 2020–21 and 202–22. Despite this development, there are many persistent misunderstandings about the nation, and institutions continue to underinvest in a market with such enormous potential. Many schools have stayed away due to long-standing worries about visa rejections, and the dearth of foundational paths has significantly reduced the number of undergraduates. However, for those universities that have been proactive in the nation, it has been significant in fostering a diverse student body on campus and has yielded long-term benefits. Bangladesh was the sixth-largest student recruiting market for the UK in the previous year. Samual Jackson-Royle, director of international operations and admissions at Bangor University speaks to The PIE, saying “Bangladesh has a young population and a growing middle class, making it a market of potential growth for all institutions”. “The key for [Bangor University] and an area of investment has been working to understand where we as an institution can meet the needs of these students through specific additional skills or qualifications alongside the degree or through support in finding employment opportunities post-graduation.” Since it doesn't rank among the top 10 source markets for either the US, Canada, or Australia, the nation is also a significant differentiator for UK education globally. Since the epidemic, other South Asian nations like Pakistan and Nepal have emerged as important development boosters, and Bangladesh will be striving for a similar level of success. With an estimated 170 million inhabitants, the north-eastern area of South Asia is the ninth most populous country in the world, and its potential is obvious. With certain unexpected tendencies that make it stand out, the booming garment manufacturing business has contributed to sustained expansion in the economy and middle-class income. Given that it has a slower pace of population increase than both India and Pakistan, its per capita income is rising more quickly than that of the two bigger nations. With the adjoining country of India, a new bilateral agreement that went into effect in July 2023 will provide direct cross-border business in rupees. a programme that might stabilise exchange rates and relieve strain on foreign currency reserves, both of which limit student mobility. Increased support from university recruiting operations currently situated in India may be encouraged by regulated money transfers between Bangladesh and India. Bangladesh, which has had a female prime minister in power since 2009, also has a strong cultural agenda to assist the education of women in society. In comparison to the South Asian norm, the nation also has a greater than usual inclination for digital transactions. Zahirul Islam, a Bangladeshi co-founder of AHZ Associates, a reputable organisation that offers student counselling services to people all over the world who are interested in studying in the UK, highlights the country's increasing financial stability and how it benefits student mobility. “In recent years, the Bangladesh economy has grown by 6.4%, which is higher than India. With this growth [we are seeing] a new group of applicants and parents coming forward to invest in their children’s future,” Islam explains. “In Bangladesh lies a key and often untapped recruitment market for UK institutions. As the economy grows, people develop and we are proud to see continued strength on the world stage.” Bangladesh's colonial past and being a member of the Commonwealth means having an inseparable historical connection with Britain, which explains the need for higher education in the UK in particular. The University of Dhaka, Bangladesh's largest public research university, is said to be modeled after Oxford University, and the northern town of Sylhet is often referred to as the "second London", due to the thousands of families in the area. chose to emigrate to Britain in the 1950s. Like the link between New South Wales and Nepal, the support of the diaspora to the Bangladeshi diaspora living in the UK is central to the success of student recruitment in the country. In 2022, the student visa approval rate for Bangladeshi students applying to the UK was 98%, equal to India and higher than Pakistan (95%) and Nigeria (95%), a statistic that will surprise many. Islam explains however, that there remains caution among university admissions teams as they scrutinise Bangladeshi students as genuine applicants. “The UK has a long history with Bangladesh and yet only a few universities understand and see its real potential,” he notes. “Universities are often concerned about the idea of risk in Bangladesh but we [AHZ Associates] have been working there for more than a decade and believe that a lot of this risk is outdated and misunderstood. “Bangladeshi students see the UK as part of their history and welcome the opportunity to study there. These are genuine, talented students that we are proud to support.”

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