Bangladesh has a largely rural population of about 160 million. COL has worked with Bangladesh on numerous projects aimed at advancing open and distance learning in the country. 

School-age Population by Education Level1









Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Secondary Education
for the school year ending 20181









Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Tertiary Education
for the school year ending 20181









Percentage of female teachers in 1




Secondary (2018)


Tertiary (2018)



1. UNESCO Institute for Statistics Data Centre, retrieved in March 2020


Literacy rate (2012)1




Adult (15+) literacy rate


Adult (15+) literacy rate



Economic Activity (2010)1




Adult (15+) economic activity


Adult (15+) economic activity



Political Decision Making (2014)1


Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament



Life expectancy (2012)1









1. COL gender country profile April 2015 


0.4 97.3
Fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1 Mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1



6.3 37.6
Fixed-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1 Mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants1



2.7 15
Households with a computer (%)1 Individuals using the internet (%)1



1. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ICT Eye Country profile, retrieved in March 2020



The Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) work in Bangladesh is primarily in the areas of technical and vocational skills development, higher education, girls' education, through GIRLS Inspire and open educational resources.

Technical and Vocational Skills Development

The Technical and Vocational Skills Development (TVSD) initiative supports partners to harness technology so as to increase access to improved quality skills training. A key aspect of the programme is the capacity building of partner organisations in course design and materials development. In Bangladesh, COL is working with Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), an organisation committed to empowering members of rural communities through education. DAM operates Community Learning Centres where members, mostly women, receive skills training leading to improved livelihoods. In recent years, Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) developed five vocational skills training packages on vermi-compost, poultry rearing, nursery, batik printing and flower gardening. Two other NGOs took up courses developed by DAM and trained 2,400 people through Community Learning Centres and mobile libraries.  Learn more about the Technical and Vocational Skills Development initiative

Higher Education

COL’s Higher Education initiative works to develop human resources for social and economic development across the Commonwealth. It supports higher education institutions and ministries in capacity building, policy development and curriculum reform. COL is working with Bangladesh Open University (BOU) to offer the Commonwealth Executive Masters in Business Administration and Commonwealth Executive Masters in Public Administration (CEMBA/CEMPA) Programme. BOU was one of COL’s first partner institutions to offer the programmes. BOU also holds a seat on the Executive Governing Board and Academic Board of the programme. Further, COL offers support to other higher education institutions in Bangladesh to adopt and implement open and distance learning techniques and open educational resources. Learn more about the Higher Education initiative

GIRLS Inspire

GIRLS Inspire is a special initiative that provides vulnerable and hard-to-reach women and girls with opportunities for completing schooling and receiving skills training resulting in sustainable livelihoods. The initiative aims to end harmful effects of child, early and forced marriage in rural communities and address other barriers that prevent girls' full participation in society. In Bangladesh, COL is working in partnership with Shidulai Swanivar Sangsta (SSS) and Centre for Mass Education and Science (CMES).  Learn more about the GIRLS Inspire initiative

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources play an important role in ensuring equitable access to quality learning materials across the Commonwealth and beyond. COL is committed to developing and promoting the use of OERs among institutions, organisations and governments through capacity building and advocacy programmes and the development of OER policies. COL organised the National Consultation Workshop on Policy for OER at the Prime Minister's Office in collaboration with Access to Information Programme and Bangladesh Open University. Learn more about COL's work in open educational resources.


Partnerships are fundamental to COL’s work. Strategic partnerships allow COL to broaden its reach and engage at global, regional and national levels, while implementation partners support COL’s work in communities and institutions across Commonwealth Member States. Partners include multilateral organisations, regional bodies, national governments, government agencies, foundations, civil society organisations, public and private (not-for-profit) institutions and the private sector.

COL's partners in Bangladesh include: 

  • Access to Information
  • Bangladesh Open University
  • Centre for Mass Education in Science
  • Dhaka Ahsania Mission
  • Ministry of Education
  • Rupantar
  • Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha