​The educational system in Bangladesh is comprised of three distinctive systems recognised by the government:

1. The General Education System

2. The Madrasah Education System

3. The Technical/Vocational Educational System

Each system is then broken down into either two or three tiers. The three-tier scheme operates under the levels of Primary, Secondary, and Higher Secondary institutions. Bangladesh conforms fully to the Education For All (EFA) objectives, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and to other forms of international declarations relevant to educational standards. Article 17 of the Bangladesh Constitution states that all children between the ages of six and eighteen years old must receive a primary and secondary education free of charge.

The Choice to Change Foundation follows the three-tiered General Education System.

General Education System

a) Primary Education

This first level of education is comprised of 5 years of formal schooling; Classes/Grades 1 to 5, also known as Standards 1 to 5 in Bangladesh. Education at this stage normally begins with students at around 6 years of age and ends with when they are about 11 years old. Furthermore, other types of institutions such as kindergartens and junior sections which are attached to English Medium Schools are also imparting an earlier form of Primary education.

b) Secondary Education

The Secondary level of education is comprised of 7 years (3+2+2) of formal schooling. The first 3 years (Standards 6 to 8) are referred to as Junior Secondary; the next 2 years (Standards 9 to 10) is dubbed Secondary while the last 2 years (Standards 11 to 13) are called Higher Secondary.

c) Tertiary Education

This third tier of the General Education System is comprised of all forms of college and university systems.


Madrasah Education System

a) Primary Level or ‘Ebtedayee’ education

The Madrasah system has a similar 3-tier division to that of Bangladesh’s General Education system (as described above). But the main difference between both systems is that the Madrasah system places a lot more emphasis on Islamic studies, thought and understanding, throughout the student’s education. The first level of Madrasah education, which is equivalent to Primary School in the General Education system, is comprised of 5 years of schooling (Class 1 – 5). Normally, children who are about 6 years of age begin in Madrasa Class 1 and finish in Class 5 at the age of 11.

b) Secondary Level

The Secondary Level of Madrasah education is comprised of 7 years (5+2) of formal schooling. ‘Dhakhil’ stage is the first part of secondary which takes 5 years to complete (equivalent to S.S.C. level) and runs from Classes 6 – 10. The last 2 years of secondary are referred to as the ‘Alim’ stage (higher secondary; equivalent to HSC), Classes 11 – 12.

c) Tertiary Level of ‘Madrasah’ education

This level is comprised of 5 years (3+2) of formal education. The minimum requirement for admission to the higher level of Madrasah schooling is the ‘Alim certificate’ . Students who have passed the Alim certificate are qualified to enrol for their final 3-year ‘Fazil’ education. For those who have attained the Fazil certificate and wish to continue to the highest level, they can pursue another 2 years of study and obtain the ‘Kamil’ certificate, the final degree provided by this system of education.


​Technical – Vocational Education System

a) Primary level

There are no technical-vocational institutions that provide a primary level of education. Since primary schooling is not provided in the Technical – Vocational Education System, it is designed to be entered with a primary education certificate already in hand by the respective applicant. This system can be completed in three phases; two major levels of secondary and a final level of tertiary education.

b) Secondary level

Vocational courses start from the secondary level. The courses taken here are designed to prepare the student to be a skilled worker in one of various types of vocations. A student can enrol starting from the ninth grade onward, after completion of primary school and the first 3 years of secondary schooling in any approved secondary institution. Here, all courses are diversified into numerous vocations, each with a total educational duration of 1 to 2 years. Upon completion, the student attains their final certificate for their chosen vocation.