Building a better Bangladesh

March 7, 2014 by


Since 1971, Bangladesh has made significant progress in achieving better development outcomes. The country’s achievements in reaching MDG goals in health and education are unparalleled when comparing to nations facing similar challenges. But despite critical gains in creating access to primary and secondary education, the need exists for a center of excellence in higher education—an institution where citizens of both developed and developing nations will have the opportunity to combine knowledge with practical experience.

Bangladesh is rich with human and intellectual resources. But even in a landscape that is built for innovation, much of that potential remains untapped or displaced due to a limited access to quality education within the country. Each year, tens of thousands of students compete to claim a seat in Bangladesh’s top schools. And each year, thousands of qualified students are rejected, forced to seek out options abroad or enter the workforce prematurely, preventing them from cultivating their intellectual strengths and limiting their long-term career opportunities. In cases where Bangladeshis go abroad, a high percentage of these students settle in their new environment, which is a detriment to the country’s GDP and intellectual resources. Not only does this trend affect these students individually—it also has increasing implications for the nation as a whole.

To address this need, BRAC’s founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, established BRAC University in 2001 to provide students with relevant, high-quality education and practical application opportunities. BRAC University offers a broad platform to grow intellectually while gaining real-world experience. BRAC also provides BRAC U students with a unique and critical edge—access to the BRAC’s rich data and resources. BRAC University is the product of Sir Abed’s fundamental conviction that education coupled with opportunity is a catalyst for positive change and the cornerstone for building peace and prosperity.

Increasing access to higher education can effectively challenge many of the obstacles developing nations face in building a robust civil society. Recent evidence suggests higher education is a result and a determinant of income, and can produce both public and private benefits. Higher education may create greater tax revenue, increase savings and investment, and lead to a more entrepreneurial and diplomatic society. It can also improve a nation’s health, contribute to reduced population growth, improve technology, and strengthen governance. With regard to the benefits of higher education for a country’s economy, many observers attribute India’s leap onto the world economic stage as stemming from its decades-long successful efforts to provide high-quality, technically oriented tertiary education to a significant number of its citizens. An investment in higher education will inevitably improve Bangladesh’s tl capacity and, in doing so, help maximize the country’s potential to achieve its greatest possible economic growth.

Investing in higher education and the country’s best and brightest is vital to Bangladesh’s continued growth and resilience.