Neoliberalism Shaping English Language Teaching in Bangladesh: A Critical Examination

Md Maksud Ali (Lead / Corresponding author), M. Obaidul Hamid

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter provides a nuanced analysis of how neoliberalism has come to shape the English Language Teaching (ELT) policy field in Bangladesh. Employing a qualitative approach, and drawing on document analysis, we traced neoliberal influences in the field since the 1990s. Our analysis reveals an ideological shift towards linguistic instrumentalism in Bangladeshi ELT as a result of the country’s promotion of neoliberal policies in the context of globalisation. In the emerging neoliberal environment, communication skills in English are commodified and are represented as a form of human capital in the job market, as these skills are believed to enhance individuals’ employability. From this perspective, investment in ELT is construed as investment in human capital, which is broadly linked to macro-level economic development. Being motivated by this market-relevant agenda for economic development, education authorities in Bangladesh have introduced Communicative Language Teaching as a pedagogical means to developing citizens’ human capital which would be compatible with the demand of the employment market. These shifts in policy and pedagogy have been facilitated by global aid agencies, which have played a significant role in introducing employment-orientation in ELT. Importantly, the policy foci towards instrumentalism required neoliberalisation of the ELT field itself through deregulation and privatisation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeoliberalization of English Language Policy in the Global South
EditorsAli Jalalian Daghigh, Jariah Mohd Jan, Sheena Kaur
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030923532
ISBN (Print)9783030923525, 9783030923556
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameLanguage Policy
ISSN (Print)1571-5361
ISSN (Electronic)2452-1027


  • Bangladesh
  • CLT
  • Commodification of English
  • English as human capital
  • Human capital development
  • Market-orientation in ELT
  • Neoliberalisation of ELT policy
  • Neoliberalism
  • Secondary education
  • Skillisation of pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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