Education Policy

Rate of Return of Education in Bangladesh: An investigation

Rate of Return in education
Rate of Return in education


Abstract: This article examines the contribution made by education in Bangladesh using primary data gained form a small scale of research. Secondary data also supplements. Both school and out-of-school education is considered in this study. Findings show that primary education contributes mainly for social development. Secondary provision also contributes mainly for social development, some attempts in contributing economical development are made of but these are not working properly because of existing education system and job pattern. Higher Education (HE) consumes a large portion of public and private fund to ensure economic development. Unfortunately, because of existing job pattern of Bangladesh and requirements placed for recruitments, contribution from HE is low where investment to per unit is reasonably higher. Overall conclusion suggests that there is a scope for development at each provision. This study also advocates an urgent need to conduct a broader study on this issue to make the education system more effective towards the development.

Keywords: Rate of Return (ROR), Investment in Education, Out-of-school Education, Employment Market, Manpower Planning, Economic Return, Social Return

1. Introduction

It is predominantly assumed that investment in education has a significant return therefore countries are paying especial priority in allocating budget in education. A number of researches have been conducted in the field of return to investment in education (Psacharopoulos and Patrions, 2002; Harmon and Walker, 1999; Hartog, et. al,. 1999; Appleton, 2000). Most of those find that return to investment in education is reversed (Hartog, et. al,. 1999 and Appleton, 2000). Most of the works included in this area put an effort to understand the return to investment in education in terms of financial benefit (Psacharopoulos and Patrions, 2002; Murphy and Welch 1992; Card, 2001 and Rouse, 1999). Scholars argue that even though the Rate of Return (ROR) in economic perspective is low, it may be higher in social development which is somehow nearly impossible to determine (Murphy and Welch 1992; Card, 2001 and Rouse, 1999). Factually, economic development and social development are interrelated thus it is worthwhile to note that if education broadly contributed in social development, it would have an impact on economic development.

What is not education? – a question is merely impossible to answer. Education is subsequently provided by a number of providers (i.e. religious institutions, paternal participation, media, development made by the globalization of 21st century, technological behavior changes and institutions of education, partners for development etc.). In order to calculate the rate of return, we never make comparison between the contribution of education provided by school system and other providers. We also do not often recognize the contribution made by other providers while we work for rate of return. The adherents of other fields often argue that not only official provision for education but also other providers of education (i.e. media, participation and governance etc.) are playing a role in the development by educating the community. A study is yet to be conducted in Bangladesh to explore the contribution made from each of the field individually. Once, we have the specific contribution from respective field, making comparison will just be a matter for calculation.

Countries have set up goal, aims and objectives gained through education. Legislators often feel that achieving officially determined goal in favor of education is a primary responsibility of formal school system (Alam, 2008a). Many instances have been found that other providers such as media, religious institutions and globalization hinder the success of formal school as they may have other goals, purposes or vision which are different from their school counterpart.

Different level of schooling (i.e. primary, secondary and tertiary) is working to contribute in a specific focus. For instance, primary education should mainly work for the development of social freedom while higher education must be more focused on economic growth. If a particular kind of education is provided to do a special job, employment of this graduate in other job does not make any sense, nevertheless it provides reverse return. Moreover, if graduates employed with a higher or specified/differentiated diploma do not fundamentally use their education in doing their jobs, also provide reverse return.

Given the discourse outlined, few research questions to understand the rate of return are generated:

1. What is the contribution made by different level of education?

2. What is the contribution made by school system and other providers of education?

3. What is the disparity in selecting the aims of education provided by other providers?

4. What is the gap in the school system in contributing desired level of contribution?

5. How can school system contribute more significantly?

Finding section of this article intends to answer of these questions. We aim to provide a further model and food of thought in investigating the rate of return of education in Bangladesh before drawing the conclusion. Prior to do this, we will provide a review of literature and data collection and analysis coherently.

2. Literature review

2.1. Key Findings from Existing Literature on rate of return

A comprehensive study with a comparative analysis is yet to be conducted to calculate the contribution made by different levels of education (i.e. primary, secondary and tertiary). Adherents of primary school provision argue that the overall rate of return of primary provision is higher than secondary and higher education provision. On the other hand, some scholars argue that rate of return is always higher for the provision of higher education. Data from virtually every society shows that post-secondary education ensures a higher income and greater opportunities for graduates. Comparison between those who have attended college or university and those who have not attended shows consistent benefit to the degree holder. Even those who attended college or university but without earning a degree are better placed. There are variations between countries, but the pattern holds globally. Alam (2008b) also finds that rate of return of higher education is not significant always because of low quality education offered and the nature of the course. Moreover, he also says that currently students are procuring education is for obtaining certificates rather than to know how to do the job. This attitude confirms a lower rate of return from higher education provision.

Alam (2008b), using the data of industrialised country context, advocates that investing in child education provides more rate of return. However, even though Bangladesh has increased a significant proportion of budgets for early childhood development with an especial focus on pre-primary provision, the rate of return is a declining feature (Shahjamal and Nath, 2008; Alam, 2008b). Colin (1999) and World Bank (2002) explore that rate of return of Vocational Education and Training (VET) is significant and which is higher than other types of education. Lewin (1993) finds the investment towards VET education is higher than others, but the rate of return is comparatively lower.

The above argument generates some interesting questions to consider: does education really provide a significant rate of returnto the investment made, if not what is the problem(s) within the education. Even in case if it is proved that primary and secondary education contribute less than higher education, there is no way, we can stop operating primary and secondary education as these levels are the basis for higher education. Nevertheless, even if it is found that education in general does not provide a substantial rate of return, stopping operation is not a solution, rather we need to discover how, the country can widely be benefited from the education. This research will inform some present status and scenario using following methods. We aim that this will help us in formulating our education policy and its implementation.

2.2. Currently Used Methods of Calculating Rate of Return

According to Colin (1999), the calculation of rate of return to education is not possible with the indicators currently used. Many researchers (Harmon and Walker, 1999; Murphy and Welch 1992; Card, 2001; Rouse, 1999; Hartog, et. al,. 1999 and Appleton, 2000), working on ‘Return to Investment in Education’ aim to discover the ratio and equation of total earnings of graduates, and the total investment required to produce [1] graduates. This way of calculating the rate of return has been criticized by Psacharopulos and Patrions (2002) and Pritchet (1996). Alam (2008a) says that high salary received by the graduates does not necessarily neither mean that these graduates are comprehensively using their gained knowledge through school in doing the job, nor their works fundamentally contribute towards the development. The calculation of ROR by calculating the difference of earnings of graduates and investment made to make the graduates may work better in the developed countries. These process works because of the relevance of education system with existing work pattern and future action plan and proper taxation provision from earning of the graduates. Alam (2008a) also argues that sometime contrasts of the philosophical aspects of knowledge and different ways of interpreting knowledge between different providers or institutions (Schools, different types of schools, media, and informal institution) also restrict the proper calculation of ROR. An alternative calculation model is yet to be provided by them; however some researchers argue that calculation of ROR must be based on the productivity of workers/graduates once they are in employment. Colin (1999) says that, even though in many cases in-service training does not increase worker income, Bennell (1996) finds that it (in-service training) makes them more productive and therefore it has a significant effect on development. Fagerlind and Saha (1989) argues that in the case of education and training programme, there is a need for a new policy to ensure that employees use gained knowledge in their daily practice. Failure to call on knowledge gained means they lose it and later investment in training will provide a reverse ROR.

Issues related to education pattern of many developing countries and employment patterns give grave concern, which need to be addressing. It is evident that profession-based jobs must be occupied by professional staff trained specifically for them. For example, a ‘medical cadre’ must be occupied exclusively by doctors, but graduates in medicine can work for other cadres [2] (i.e. in administration, policing, foreign affairs, taxation). In addition, obtaining high scores in scientific subjects is easier when compared to the areas of Social Science and the Arts. Thus science graduates, especially doctors and engineers, take advantage of public service examinations. Moreover, every sector, enterprise and organisation (i.e. the army, banking and industry) needs its medical and engineering professionals, and therefore the Public Service Commission in developed countries creates an artificially larger job market for science graduates, specifically for medical and engineering graduates. In addition, the most profitable opportunity for science graduates, especially for doctors, is to enter private practice, either full or part-time. However, we argue that, if science graduates are employed within the public sectors and also busy in working in the private sector, who are to provide the essential support for the enormous number of poor people, dependent on the public services?

The public service examination is a place for competition among Science, Social Science and Arts graduates. Graduates in the same subject do not generally compete against each other to acquire the professional job for which they have been trained. A graduate who has studied Arts or Social Science does not essentially compete with other graduates who have studied the same subject in the public service examination. Is the HE of developing countries able to produce an expert capable of doing the specialized job – or is it producing a graduate with a basic education? A further question arises: do jobs in Arts and Social Science of the public service examination require a person to have a basic education, or to be a specialist?

To have doctors and engineers working in different career areas (those of policing, administration and foreign affairs, for instance) proves that investing in the production of these graduates is ill-advised. We further argue that the earning of a graduate employed in an area for which they are not trained and not proficient, does not constitute an actual ‘return to investment in education’. It also forces the nation to have a society of unemployed trained graduates. It can be seen that investing large amounts of money in the production of science graduates does not make sense if they work in the field of social science or the arts in professional life.  Finally, we need to consider whether education creates jobs, or if education should be provided according to the needs of the job market?

3. Methods

Determining methods in calculating return to education is the hardest job thus the discussion is often limited to informal communication although a number a scholars realize that education may not have a significant return. In order to understand a comparative situation, this study covered a number of respondents varying in their education levels and types and job pattern. Respondents who are involved with work (job) are only considered. 176 respondents with no education and 1200 with different level of education have been considered for quantitative part of this study. Of the 1200 gradates, 247 are primary, 219 are secondary, 231 are higher secondary and others are higher educated. We covered graduates studied different areas (i.e. science, commerce, arts, engineering, medicine and other professional course). Quantitative data were used to understand their perception regarding the importance of their gained education in doing the jobs, for which they are involved, and their change of behavior in respect to the social development. Questionnaires designed by using a number of indicators informed employees’ productivity in doing the jobs. Questionnaires also informed the level of use of education knowledge gained from school in implementing the jobs in which they are employed. Some indicators also included in the questionnaires that informed the contribution of education gained through school for social development. Interviews were conducted with 200 respondents who were the respondents for quantitative part. Of the 200 respondents, 46 have no education, 37 have primary education, 32 have secondary education, 47 have higher secondary education and the rest 38 have higher education with a random sampling system. However, we covered the graduates studied different field as the way maintained for quantitative part. Interview data supplemented the data gained from questionnaires. The group who has no formal education is considered to understand what difference is made by primary education provision and where we stand without having any kind of education. Thereafter, consideration of other level of education helped to compare with each other. This helped in determining what level of education is mainly required for what kind of jobs. It is important to note that academic and scholars are not considered within the sample as this study aims to explore the issues with the workforce.

4. Result and Discussion

4.1. Contribution Made by Different Level of Education

According to the perception of every group of respondents, education is very important for both economic and social benefits. Most of the respondents view that education provides diploma which is helpful to be employed and employment brings economic prosperity. This prosperity provides a social prestige. Most of the respondents with primary and secondary education perceive that this kind of social prestige is social development. Thus the concept of social development is not clear to them yet. Data reveal that 100% respondents with no formal education do not face any difficulty in implementing the works for which they are engaged. However, they believe that they could join with a better job if they received education. Hence, the question is; if after having education, no one is found to do these kind of jobs, what will be the prospect of this sector? Surprisingly, 100% respondents with primary education are involved in the jobs that are covered by the group having no formal education. These primary graduates also do not feel that they necessarily need the primary education in doing the job for which they are employed. Observation also notices no difference of job performance between two types of graduates. It is interesting to know; does any especial skills are required in doing such kinds of works? It has been found that the jobs mainly covered by the uneducated group and primary graduates require a number of skills which they learn after involving with the jobs. Bangladeshi primary education does not usually provide any skills that are required for jobs. Primary education concentrates on providing some competencies that are required to continue secondary education, thus the group, dropped out from primary level, almost achieved no skills which are necessary for their working life.

Group having no formal education perceives that they are unable to contributive for social development as the ways primary graduates do. In order to contribute for social development, communication skills are important so that they can access to all of the information. If they were educated, they would play a role for democracy, governance, transparency, health and other issues. They also feel that if they were educated, their voice was considered as important and powerful thus chance to contribute in development would be more.

Respondents with primary education feel that they have more communicative skill than the group having no formal education. This helps them in a number of ways. An important fact is marked that within the current climate, they are to contribute significantly for the development of good governance and democracy, and they are well aware of the problem. Furthermore, they are playing a diminutive role for the development of health and education sector as they are more aware than the group having no formal education.

It is explored in our study that the drop-out section of population from primary education are not playing a role for economic development, however, they are someway contributing for social development. The section of population who completes primary education and receives secondary education will play the same role if secondary education also fails to provide necessary skills for the jobs, they are engaged.

Of the respondents with junior secondary education, almost 33% are involved in the sectors where both group having no formal education and primary graduates are involved. This group also does not feel that their education is helping for their jobs. Remaining 67% involved in different kinds of jobs. Of this 67%, 40% believe that they can use only 5% of education they received, 30% believe that they can use 10% of education they received from their secondary education provision, and the rest 30% are using 15% of education that they gained. Thus 33% of the graduates drop out from the junior secondary school provision does not use any education for their jobs; other 67% use only 10% of their knowledge on an average. Junior secondary education helps the students who continue further education. Data reveal that graduate with junior secondary education contribute more than primary graduate as secondary graduates are more communicative.

Of the respondents with secondary education, almost 28% are involved in the jobs that are covered by junior secondary graduates. The job performance between junior secondary graduates and secondary graduates are almost same. 72% of the junior secondary graduates are involved in different kinds of jobs. Of this 72%, 64% received general education, 16% received Madrasha education and the other 20% received VET. On an average, graduates with general education use 15% of their education in doing the job, while Madrasha and VET graduate use respectively 10% and 25% of their gained knowledge from education. There is a very slight difference noticed in regards to the contribution of social development between junior secondary and secondary graduates. The group who continues higher education uses their secondary education to enroll into higher education.

Of the graduates with higher education, respectively 20%, 30%, 20%, 20% and 10% studied arts, business studies, science, professional courses (engineering) and medicine. The graduates from arts discipline view that they just use their 50% of higher secondary education in doing the jobs for which they are employed. Of the science graduates, only 30% have been employed in their respective subjects, others are employed in various fields. The graduates who are employed in their respective filed use only 18% of their gained knowledge from their higher education. The science graduates who are working a field other than their subject only use 40% of their higher secondary education knowledge. Of the graduate with professional degree, 60% are involved with respective professions use 25% of their gained knowledge from higher education. The 40% of professional graduates employed in different fields use nearly 30% of their higher secondary education in doing the job. Of the medicine graduates, 70% are involved with their profession who use 40% of knowledge gained from the higher education, the remaining 30% who are involved other field use nearly 30% of their gained knowledge from higher secondary education. No significant difference on the contribution of social development between graduates with higher secondary education and higher education was marked.

Overall, primary, junior secondary, secondary, higher secondary and tertiary graduates respectively use 14%, 12%, 16% and 11% of education that contribute towards the social development, while education provided by other providers contribute significantly more.

4.2. Contribution Made by Other Provisions

The 21st century has shaped the world in different ways. Not only technological changes but also changes in many aspect of social life have been taken places. Some scholars argue that education has provided us such a wonderful and meaningful 21st century. Indeed, this is true; however 21st century has created an atmosphere which is helping the expansion of education rapidly. Moreover, different types of Medias and education providers apart from formal school system are playing the best substitute role of formal education system. Earlier, contribution of media and 21st century only benefited the higher educated group as they had a scope to access in those. These days, mass people are also the beneficiary of the modernized 21st century. People in a rural village use many types of electronic devices (i.e. mobile phone, watch, radio and television). This also helps them learn so many things that are related to their job (economic development) and to social development. Scanning the questionnaires, primary graduates who are related with farming activities learn 26% skills from radio and television. Interview data reveal that media and other modern innovations of 21st century changed the life pattern of primary graduates noteworthy which is connected to the social development.

Data received from secondary graduates reveal that media and other innovations of 21st century are power weapons in learning new skills that is connected to economic and social development. Data further reveal that quality of education provided by the formal schools has deteriorated enormously. Students are not significantly learning skills from the formal schooling that are required for their employment. Twenty-first century not only teaches them new skills that are required to gain economic benefit but also make a significant changes on the behavior patterns which is important to cope with the changes recently made in the globe. Thus, this somehow helps the graduates in contributing their economic and social development. With the scope of this research, it was not possible to determine the contribution made by other providers apart from formal school system, however it should be noted that other providers are one of the best substitutes or even in some cases other providers play vital role where education system just work as substitute.

Overall, it was found that primary, secondary, higher secondary and tertiary graduates respectively use 17%, 12%, 9% and 7% of the education gained from other providers ( i. e training, workshops, radio, newspapers, 21st century, TV etc.)  for their jobs. On the other hand, they respectively use 18%, 22%, 28% and 26% of their knowledge grained from other providers that contributes towards social development.

However, interview data reveal that education gained through formal system make a foundation thus using education provided by other providers is possible. One respondent observes that “Formal education provides fundamental knowledge such as reading, writing and communication skills and knowledge of analytical analysis which are products of formal school system. This helps to achieve and use education received from other providers, thus without the education of formal system, other education will be ineffective”.

4.3. Disparity in Selecting the Aims of Education Provided by the Different Providers

Both formal (institution of education) and out-of-school provision of education (i.e. newspapers, radio, TV, technology, 21st century etc.) are working towards the development of a nation. Both providers mainly help a country to achieve economic and social development. Education is a serious concern of public policy while media receive attention of pubic policy when their broadcast is related to government policy. These days, media enjoys a reasonably high freedom in issue of forecasting cultural programmes (i.e. drama, cinema, talk shows and borrowed programmes from Western) and the advertisement and promotional programmes.

Formal education system considers that bondage to our own culture and heritage will make our life more systematic. This will help us in achieving our social development in the light of science. In contrast, because of market approach, media is developed a western model that help to sell their programmes. Thus, a contrast in the context of cultural, traditional and heritage learning has been noticed between school and out-of-school provisions of education. These days influence of media is much stronger than ever before thus schools are struggling to put forward their arguments to the students. One respondents note that “I do not ague that which provisions (school, family or TV) are providing right education towards the culture. But I found a huge gap between different providers. This makes a students’ life problematic as they do not know which one should be considered.” Not only students but also guardians are quite confused, however because of commoditization, we have to consider the ideology and theme from media. This makes a chaotic situation which makes our children argumentative. As a nation, if we are argumentative, we will never come to a consensus at any issue thus not only social but also economic development would be halted.

The advertisement programmes of different Medias have been widely criticized. Respondents urge that media survive by the advertisements. Within current climate of state policy, a little rule and regulation is available for advertisement policy. In order to earn money, media are forecasting any types of advertisement provided by the ‘buyer’. This teaches a number of things which is contrast to local cultural and tradition. One respondent views that “Currently advertisement and some other programmes forecasting by the Medias teach some unethical issues. You can see a number of advertisements teach the students how to be inattentive and irregular in attending schools and classes. Lying attitude is being also thought by the advertisement. Until and unless, the objectives of school and out-of-school provision will be the same, it will take a long time to achieve desired level of development”.

4.4. Gap in the School System in Contributing

Education of almost all the developed countries has been designed according to the need of present job market. Analyzing the trend of future job market is also considered in designing education. In order to progress economically, new sectors are developed in the context of globalization and business trend of 21st century. A manpower pattern is calculated. In the light of this calculation, different types of education and level of education are provided to create a working force. After the drop out, students join with the work force thus we need to understand what is the drop out rate and who are the drop out group and where are they joining as a workforce. Accordingly, education is needed to be provided designing decent curricula that includes necessary skills which is important for this particular drop out group in doing the job. It is also important to understand what kind and level of education is important for our work pattern. After determining it, country needs to emphasise to provide this education by ensuing required enrolment. Stopping drop out should be an agenda from a particular kind of education which is related to work. This is not currently practicing in Bangladeshi education system. Currently Bangladeshi education system is mainly concentrates on providing foundation for higher education. Pursuing higher education is considered as a fashion and tradition for privileged group. Higher education in Bangladesh does not necessarily provide public benefit while it provides private benefit, therefore not only privileged group but also others are more interested to go for higher education. Bangladesh needs to understand what kind of education is required for its present job pattern and the needs for future trends thereafter ensuring this kind of education according to the students’ capability is needed to be paid attention. However, the balance of income between different kinds of graduates also needs to be considered otherwise no one will be enthusiastic to procure the specific kind of education advocated by the government.

4.5. Investment and Rate of Return

Five tables are drawn in order to have a brief understanding of the investment made on education and its return. Before noting any remark from the data presented in the Tables, it is worthwhile to understand the relevancy of data, its collection process and the interpretation. Notes in this regards are followed underneath of each table.

The data presented in Table 1 have been compiled from different government documents which provide information on public revenue and development budget. Caution attempts were made in the process of compilation and calculation. The Table includes both development and revenue budgets invested to education. However, every cycle (i.e. primary, secondary, higher secondary and tertiary) is required a specific period to complete, therefore, it is important to calculate the interest rate on investment at every cycle which was not done. Parents and other sponsors also invest a substantial amount of fund for the development of education which is not included. If these were included investment towards formal provision of education would be higher. However, it is now evident that being a very underdeveloped country, formal provision of education receives the highest priority in allocating the fund in Bangladesh. But we should not compare with other countries as investment in a sector always depends on the total economy of a country.

Table 1: Unit Cost subsided by exchequer based on development and revenue

Rate of Return 1

Source: Different government documents

Table 2: Return from school and other provisions

Rate of Return 2

Source: Analysis of data gathered from the respondents

Data presented in the Tables 2 and 3 are quite similar. Two Tables are made in order to understand the different comparison using same data. Table 2 focuses on comparison on school provision to others while Table 3 tries to understand the comparison between economic and social development. Data used both the Tables are collected through the questionnaire. Interview data is also used to testify and nullify the data achieved through questionnaire. Questionnaire data used in this Table are proven to be valid as they are the products of testify and nullify test through random interviews. Questionnaires, used to conduct this survey, exercise a number of indirect indicators to understand the use of education of workers in order to perform their jobs and regular tasks required to undertake the social life and human needs perspective.

Table 3: Comparison of Economic and social return

Rate of Return 3

Source: Analysis of data gathered from the respondents

Table 4: Return after deduction of unemployment

Rate of Return 4

Source: Analysis of data gathered from the respondents; Provisional census report 2001

Data used in Table 4 are the products of both primary and secondary sources. Census report is used to understand the unemployment rate of different types of graduates. Thereafter, amount of total unused education is determined. This unused education mainly impacts on economic return. However, if the trend remains, it will affect on social return in the long run, since Alam (2007) explores that educated unemployment group bring social decadence and unrest. Table 4 shows that within the current climate, huge amount of education is totally unused in general. Total unused education is the highest at tertiary level where public subsidy is also the highest. Moreover, tertiary graduates practice a high level of corruption which is lowering the social return for tertiary provision. In fact, return from tertiary level is low as a whole; however the two reasons identified (higher unemployment rate amongst tertiary graduates and practice of huge corruption by tertiary graduates) force to have a negative return from the tertiary level (see table 5).

Table 5: Individual use of education of each stage of education ladder

Rate of Return 5

Source: Analysis of data gathered from the respondents

In the ladder of education, primary education is considered as a starting-edge while higher education is the ending-edge. It is factual that starting-edge of ladder is always required. The use of middle stages and final stage of the ladders always depends on situation/circumstance. While, if ending-stage of the ladder is used, starting and middle stages will be used automatically. We have identified five stages of education ladder in Bangladesh. Efforts were made to understand the specific use of each provision of education. Primary education is the starting-edge of the ladder thus it is used every time if education ladder is used. Considering this, it is realistic that use of primary education should be the highest. Table 5 shows that the use of primary education is 12.1% while tertiary provision scored 1.9%. The reasons of this negative score achieved by the tertiary level have been discussed earlier.

5. Suggestions and Conclusion

Results show that there is a gap between Bangladeshi education system and employment pattern. It is significant to consider that having been dropped out from the school, individuals join with the labor market. Currently, drop out exists at all level of education. Our primary and secondary education provisions mainly work to make their graduates competent for higher studies. With the current climate, they do not produce workforce that is important for our existing need. Moreover, a country does not necessarily needs its all individuals to be higher educated. For a country, a certain proportion of population with higher education are required who are extremely qualified to contribute mainly in the field of research and knowledge creation. Countries are essentially in need of more technically and professionally sound graduates who have job oriented knowledge. Bangladeshi education system nourishes the pupil to learn some basic theories than to understand the applied use of those theories. Based on the above results, some suggestions are made aiming that implementation of these suggestions will provide more rate of return to the investment in education than the rate of return received earlier.

• Legislators need to calculate the number of employed individuals sector by sector. It is also important to understand the probable job fields for primary and secondary graduates. Keeping these views, skills required for jobs should be thought from the skills system.

• Need to identify how many higher educated and professional graduates are required in respect to different field. Accordingly, a portion of students will be prepared for higher education based on their merits and interests. No economical and social privilege will be considered in selecting the students aiming to catering for certain purpose.

• Country shall not produce huge number of higher educated individuals than its need as it consumes a large proportion of budget.

• Country should explore the potential employment market within national and offshore and manpower will be developed with the view to the projection.

• Rules should be restricted for the professionals to work in their receptive field explicitly.

• It is important to make aware the employers and individuals not to suffer in diploma disease rather they need to understand the concept of job, ready for the graduates.

• Increasing budget for in-service training is required. Undertaking in-service training should be obligatory for the officials and workers. Saving budget from non-required higher education should be invested on VET programme.

In conclusion, in the Third World, any research carried out invariably results in a long list of recommendations. Policy-makers consistently fail to follow any of the suggestions made or, at best, partially implement those. A comprehensive solution continues to be elusive whilst the prevailing culture of corruption and political influence prevents the effective implementation of polices. Suggestions emerging as results of this research follow, however, we wish to emphasise that straightforward and direct implementation of the suggestions may not fully address all the existing problems. However, we firmly advocate that, if a transparent and open policy structure is developed and political interference is minimized, the suggestions could go a long way towards solving at least some of the problems facing the education sector in Bangladesh, particularly related with the return of investment in education.

It is also important to carry out an extensive research in the field of rate of return in education of Bangladesh and also important to conduct some study focusing some aspects to have an in-depth knowledge.


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[1] It is interesting to note that, in order to produce a graduate, investment in the school is not the total investment required, as students enjoy subsidized national and international facilities (i.e. subsidized transports and cafeterias).

[2] But these jobs should be allocated for Arts and Social Science graduates.

GAZI MAHABUBUL ALAM: ILO Office, House# 12, Road # 12, Dhanmondi, Dhaka 1209; and Visiting Fellow, UNESCO Centre for Comparative Education Research, University of Nottingham. Phone: +880-2 9112836, 9120649, 9112876; Mobile: +88 – 01915620217; E-mail:;; MIRJA MOHAMMAD SHAHJAMAL: Research and Evaluation Division, Brac, 75 Mohakhali, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh. Phone: +880-2-9881265, Ext: 2707; Mobile: +88-01714088110; E-mail:; and GOUTAM ROY: Research and Evaluation Division, Brac, 75 Mohakhali, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh. Phone: +880-2-9881265, Ext: 2707; Mobile: +88-01712018951; E-mail:

This article has previously been published in the Teacher’s World.

About the author

Goutam Roy

About the author

Gazi Mahbubul Alam

Gazi Mahbubul Alam

Dr. Gazi mahbubul Alam is a faculty member of the Department of Educational Management, Planning & Policy, Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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