ABSTRACT: In the context of the global prevalence of the English language as a universal medium, the importance of English language education has gained considerable prominence in Bangladesh. This emphasis is driven by the dual goals of achieving economic progress and fostering a skilled workforce. The use of English as a medium of instruction at the higher education level has become a subject of contentious debate, particularly within public or government universities, where discussions on its continued application persist. This debate is further complicated by the emergence of private universities, which consistently adopt English as their primary language of instruction. In contrast, public universities grapple with a mixed-language approach, incorporating both Bangla and English during lectures. This paper conducts a comprehensive review, delving into crucial facets such as the historical trajectory of English in Bangladesh, its role both pre- and post-independence, and its categorization as either English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at the tertiary education level. The inquiry concludes by offering insightful recommendations for policymakers to enhance the standing of English in Bangladesh. These recommendations acknowledge the multifaceted implications of English proficiency for the nation's educational landscape and economic prospects.
Keywords: English language proficiency; Tertiary education in Bangladesh; Language policy; Medium of instruction; Higher education language dynamics