Education in Bangladesh has three major stages-primary, secondary and higher education. Primary education is a 5-year cycle while secondary education is a 7- year one with three sub-stages: 3 years of junior secondary, 2 years of secondary and 2 years of higher secondary. The entry age for primary is 6 years. The junior, secondary and higher stages are designed for age groups 11-13, 14-15 and 16-17 years. Higher secondary is followed by graduate level education in general, technical, engineering, agriculture, business studies, and medical streams requiring 5-6 years to obtain a Masters degree.
In the general education stream, higher secondary is followed by college/university level education through the Pass/Honors Graduate Courses (4 years). The masters Degree is of one year’s duration for holders of Bachelor Degree (Honors) and two years duration for holders of (Pass) Bachelor Degree. Higher education in the technical area also starts after higher secondary level. Engineering, agriculture, business, medical and information & communication technology are the major technical and technological education areas. In each of the courses of study, except for medical education, a 5- year course of study is required for the first degree.
Primary level education is provided under two major institutional arrangements (stream)-general and madrasha, while secondary education has three major streams: general, technical-vocational and madrasha. Higher education, likewise, has 3 streams: general (inclusive of pure and applied science, arts, business and social science), madrasah and technology education. Technology education in its turn includes agriculture, engineering, medical, textile, leather technology and ICT. Madrashas (Arabic for educational institution), functional parallel to the three major stages, have similar core courses as in the general stream (primary, secondary and post-secondary) but have additional emphasis on religious studies.