No Bangladeshi university has made it among 1000 universities in the world in a global ranking while India and Pakistan have 36 and seven universities respectively.
Bangladesh's oldest higher education institution, the University of Dhaka, is the only Bangladeshi university that has been featured among the 1001+ group in the UK-based Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2020.
The rankings include almost 1400 universities across 92 countries.
Although a total of 56 Indian universities were named in the league table, no institution was ranked among the top 300. Last year, the number was 49.
The Indian Institute of Sciences Bangalore secured its position in the 301-350 cohort.
In the rankings, India is the fifth most-represented nation in the world and the third most-represented in Asia – behind Japan and China.
The list features 14 Pakistani universities but none of them belongs to the top 300 group. Quaid-i-Azam University is in the 401-500 group while the University of Punjab finds its place in the 801-1000 cohort.
Like the University of Dhaka, the University of Peshawar in Pakistan is ranked among the 1001+ group.
Besides, two Sri Lankan universities and one Nepalese university have been featured on the list.
The University of Oxford in England has topped the list, while the California Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge came in second and third respectively.
The US dominates the list, with seven schools in the top 10 and 60 in the top 200. The UK has 28 institutions, and Germany 23, in the top 200.
Lack of quality research affects ranking
Bangladesh has consistently performed poorly in different global university rankings, depicting the sorry state of the country's institutions of higher education.
The University of Dhaka was ranked between 601-800 in the 2016 THE rankings. In the 2018 THE rankings, its position slipped below 1001.
With an overall score of 10.7-22.1, the University of Dhaka performed the worst in research – 8.8.
Noted writer and former professor of the University of Dhaka, Syed Manzoorul Islam, told The Business Standard that the overall research infrastructure in the higher education institutions needs to be revamped among other improvements.
"We need to improve the quality of our academic research. For that, we also need good researchers who will produce research works that are on par with the ones having international standards," he explained.
No Bangladeshi university made it to the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019, which ranked 1000 universities globally. A popular annual publication of university rankings, the ranking is also known as Shanghai Ranking.
Established in 1921 by the British Raj, the University of Dhaka once basked in the glory of being described as the Oxford of the East. The quality of education was top-notch, but it has failed to live up to its historic reputation over the years.
University authorities often question the methodology of such rankings, but experts and educationists have pointed the finger at the scanty research budget and lack of quality research publications as the key reasons for Bangladesh's downfall in the league table.
How the ranking is done
Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 prides itself on being the largest and most diverse university rankings ever.
The table is based on 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution's performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.
Times Higher Education's data supplier reviews millions of published research pages and citations to evaluate the institutions. Thousands of academics are also surveyed to prepare the rankings.
Times Higher Education has a business relationship with The Wall Street Journal to develop the rankings.