Almost 90-95 percent of the business is down at present, thanks to the rampages done by the Covid-19
Lohit Swapan, founder of a Dhaka-based education consultancy firm, has been under a strain these days.
For the last two months, he could not pay rent for the house where he set up the business, Prolance Education, to provide students with guidance for studying abroad.
Students nowadays hardly go to his firm to seek help as most countries have halted offering visas amid lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although the firm had received around 30 applications from students in April, it could not process them and thus could not earn a single penny. Nevertheless, Lohit had to pay regular salaries to his two staff.
Lohit, solely dependent on the firm's income, is now on the verge of losing his business.
The student consultancy firms in Bangladesh, as all other sectors, have been seriously hit by the novel coronavirus.
No Bangladeshi student went to study abroad during the last session in April. Almost 90-95 percent of the business is down at present, say the industry players.
They fear that the business might maintain a slowdown further due to the virus aftermaths in the coming months. They assume that it may take up to one year for the business to get back on its feet.
"Because, we do not know when the countries will start offering student visas. Even if they withdraw lockdowns, parents will still be afraid of sending their children abroad," said Lohit Swapan.
Besides, the virus has gripped the whole economy and many people are losing jobs. People, with their pockets shrinking every second, will be less likely to send their children abroad for higher studies, he further said.
Lohit was echoed by Mujahidul Mamun, a private university student, who, after completing his BSC late last year, had been planning to go for higher studies in China until the Covid-19 broke out in that country and failed his plan.
Mamun is now uncertain about his higher degree as his parents are too frightened to send him to any country any time soon.
The whole student consultancy sector is on the horns of a dilemma as there is nobody to assure it of an end to the pandemic soon.
Abdur Rahman Khan, managing director of the N&N International, said the flow of students taking consultations from them was normal till February.
"We have many applications in our hand for the May session, but nobody proceeded an inch after March."
In spite of a sudden but massive decline in the business, some firms are too determined to give in to the fight against the virus. They have gone online.
"Instead of giving up, we are rendering services fully on online platforms, for instance: Facebook and Zoom application," said Rouham Manzoor, managing partner of the Maces.
"If we give in now, we will lose the scope of a recovery from the losses during this crisis," a resolute Manzoor said.
He said a good number of people approached them to get services online in the past two months but the actual clients decreased drastically.
"Some foreign universities are offering higher degrees online. But thanks to a not-so-high economic status of most Bangladeshi students, they have little interest in paying high tuition fees for those online classes," he added.
However, 40 Bangladeshi students, with the contribution of Maces, started online courses with a Japan university in April, said Manzoor.
There are around 300 firms registered with the Foreign Admission and Career Development Consultant Association of Bangladesh, and every year around 50,000 students go abroad to pursue higher degrees.