Amongst 47,427 foreign students studying in India, in 2018-19, around 4.38 per cent are Bangladeshis.
So, around 2,000 Bangladeshi students study in India. Among the 164 countries, Bangladesh ranks third in the index after two other Asian nations,- Nepal and Afghanistan.
The Business Standard spoke with Prof. Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Vice-Chancellor of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University and Professor Mohammad Tamim, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of BRAC University about this phenomenon.
Professor Mohammad Tamim
There are various reasons why Bangladeshi students go to India for studies. Cost effectiveness is one of them.
Many Indian universities, where Bangladeshi students seek education, offer cheaper educational expenses than the tuition fees charged by private universities in Bangladesh.
Students who cannot get enrolled in top Bangladeshi universities like BUET, Dhaka University or the medical colleges try to study in India.
This trend of studying in India is partly inspired by high expense of education at the top private universities in Bangladesh, whereas the public sector of higher education in Bangladesh is the least expensive.
As a result, in comparison to educational environment and expenses, our students often find Indian universities more affordable than Bangladeshi private universities.
Flexible admission procedures in the Indian universities are another reason behind our students' interest in studying there.
Getting admitted to the medium standard Indian universities is comparatively easier than that of top Bangladeshi public universities.
Our students often get admitted to the Indian universities based on their HSC and SSC results. The lack of competition in these universities is no secret, as there is an abundance of academic institutions.
In terms of quality of the universities that largely depend on the research capabilities, years of operation, tradition and publications, there are a few Indian universities that are better in standard than Bangladeshi public and private universities.
But Indian universities offer a better educational environment for their students which I believe is a big deal. The Indian universities are not challenged as much as our public universities suffer in terms of political violence.
Prof. Mohammad Tamim is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of BRAC University
Professor Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed
In my knowledge, students of the agriculture field tend to prefer America of Japan when it comes to studying abroad. It is rare for students with honours or master's degree to study in India, however, some students of PhD do aspire to study in some Indian universities.
Easy scholarship offers might factor that prompt Bangladeshi student to look up to Indian institutions. But it is rare for agri-based students to study in India without the promise of a scholarship. Especially, the IARI institute lures in some agriculture students to India.
Students from other sectors, of course, find better education options in India. A lot of IT students flock to Indian Universities, which is reflected in the report which says BTech has the most amount of foreign students.
Medical studies in India are also quite attractive to students. As a lot of Bangladeshi people seem to prefer hospitals in India, this also sways judgement in their favour and make students prone to apply to Indian medical institutes.
Also, we must not forget about Shantiniketan which is also a prestigious place for art students to receive an education. Overall, Bangladeshi students might prefer India for education in some sectors, but not all.
Prof. Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed is the Vice-Chancellor of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University