Carried on the back of its competitive apparel industry and large pool of migrant remittances, Bangladesh’s strong and admirable growth in recent years is the product of multiple factors. However, behind this picture lies another story not talked about nearly as much–the role of education in enabling this transformation.
As the economy matures, the engines of growth take on more complex forms. With Vision 2041 looming ahead, the need to equip the nation with a strong information technology-enabled services industries remains pertinent. Despite being the foundation for future growth, the sector is currently falling short of expectations. In order to enable this sector to thrive and produce the results needed from it, access to quality tertiary education is vital in creating future industry leaders.
LightCastle Partners co-authored The Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s latest publication titled, “Bangladesh: Computer and Software Engineering Tertiary Education in 2018.” which hopes to improve labor market outcomes for graduates of computer science engineering and information technology.
Ryotaro Hayashi, social sector economist of the South Asia Department from the Asian Development Bank, and LightCastle Partners co-authored the report.
Nine universities were surveyed for this paper: Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), University of Dhaka (DU), Jessore University of Science and Technology (JUST), Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST), BRAC University (BRACU), Daffodil International University (DIU), East West University (EWU), and Islamic University of Technology (IUT). This article summarizes the key takeaways of the study.
The Study Reveals 3 Broad Findings
University, Gender and Year of Graduation Affected Job Placement Status
Overall, the job placement rate for CSE/IIT graduates stood at 77.1 percent while the remaining 22.9 percent either did not find jobs or were not looking for jobs.1 20.4 percent of graduates found jobs within 1-3 months of graduation, while a substantial 35.5 percent of graduates found jobs more than one year after graduation. Overall employment rate after graduation stood at 86.2 percent.
The ADB tracer study defined job placement rates as the number of people currently employed out of the total sample.
The tracer study defined job placement rate as the proportion of people currently employed out of the total sample.
Job Placement Rate = (Currently Employed)/(All Sample)
The study found that job placement rates varied across 3 major factors: university, gender and year of graduation.
Job placement after CSE/IIT graduation was 77.1% with large variations across universities.
Females experienced lower job placement rates than males
Job Placement Increased the More Time Passed Since Graduation
Interest in CSE/IT, Scholarship Opportunities, and Salary Affected Access to Education and Employment
There are multiple reasons as to why access to education and employment in CSE/IT sector differed. Among them, 3 important factors were:
- Interest in computer science engineering.
- Availability of scholarship at universities.
- Salary offered upon graduation.
Most graduates were engaged due to their interest in CSE.
65.3% of universities offered no scholarship opportunities.
69.8% of unemployed graduates cited “low salary” as the chief reason for not accepting a job offer.
The Internet was the Most Popular Job Search Method
The Majority of Graduates in CSE/IT Believe Better Facilities are Necessary
ICT and Problem Solving Skills are the Areas Where Universities Should Focus Most
Universities Need to Provide Quality Internship Programs
The proper development of the IT sector is a fundamental ingredient in the recipe for Bangladesh’s future. The sector’s growing importance backed on the heels of equitable and quality-oriented CSE/IIT university education will enable Bangladesh to lay the foundation to power the future engines of economic growth. Improving industry infrastructure, smoothing discrepancies over access to education and employment across gender, university and year of graduation, and developing a market-responsive and skills-oriented curriculum will establish the foundation to empower the IT sector’s growing relevance in the local economy.
Particularly crucial steps towards success revolves around 3 actions. Firstly, access to CSE/IT programs needs to be expanded, particularly towards women to bridge gender disparities. Secondly, the quality and relevance of CSE/IT programs need to be upgraded through greater hands-on experience, more practice, improved career guidance and quality internship programs. Third and lastly, universities need to strengthen support for start-ups in an effort to raise the number of high tech entrepreneurs.
If these fundamentals are tackled swiftly, it is appropriate to hope that Bangladesh will be well-poised to deal with the challenges of a more complex and technologically-oriented global economy. The task then falls to the hands of university authorities, employers, and policymakers to synthesize the way forward.
Shahreem Ahsan, Trainee Consultant at LightCastle Partners, has prepared the write-up. For further clarifications, contact here: [email protected]
- 1. Bangladesh: Computer and Software Engineering Tertiary Education in 2018 – Asian Development Bank
- 2. Tracer Study of Graduates of Universities in Bangladesh – Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
- 3. University education and labour market linkages – The Financial Express
- 4. Survey on ICT Job Market in Bangladesh – Daffodil International University