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Education in Burundi

Published by UNESCO "UNION NACIONAL DE EDUCACION SUPERIOR CONTINUA ORGANIZADA"

 "NATIONAL UNION OF CONTINUOUS ORGANIZED HIGHER EDUCATION"

 

 Ministry Of Education, Rwanda

      BURUNDI

Education in Rwanda & Burundi

 

Until 1954, all education was provided by religious missions; it was almost entirely limited to the primary grades. Education is now compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 13. Primary education lasts for six years. The languages of instruction in schools are Kisundi and French. General secondary education lasts for seven years, while vocational secondary education usually lasts for five. The percentage of eligible children attending school decreased from 28% in 1967 to 18% in 1975 before rising to 51% in 1992. As of 1999, 45% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while only about 5% of eligible young people attend secondary or technical schools. The shortage of trained teachers and administrators is acute. The projected rate of adult illiteracy for the year 2000 stands at 51.9% (males, 43.7%; females, 59.5%). In 1996 Burundi had 1,501 schools at the primary level with 10,316 teachers and 518,144 students. At the secondary level in 1994–95, there were 47,636 students enrolled in general education. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 57 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, public expenditure on education was estimated at 3.9% of GDP.

The University of Burundi, in Bujumbura (founded in 1960), is the country's only institution of higher learning. At all higher level institutions in 1992–93, a total of 4,256 students were enrolled with 556 teaching staff.

 

The system of education in Burundi has a structure of 6 years of primary education, 7 years of secondary education which is divided into 4 years of lower secondary and 3 years of upper secondary school and 3 to 5 years of post-secondary education.

The education system is in Burundi summarised as below;

Nursery/kindergarten (duration: two years)

This is the pre-school level of education in Burundi being provided by private schools. Children usually start at the age of three and complete nursery school by the age of five.

Primary school (duration: six years)

There are six primary school years from primary one to primary six. With normal annual progression this means primary school should last six years. Children usually start primary from the age of six and complete by age of twelve.

At the end of P.6 students are awarded with primary school leaving certificate

Secondary school (duration: seven years)

Secondary education is divided into lower and upper secondary education. Lower secondary education is available to those who pass the National Entrance Examination and lasts four years. Children usually start lower secondary level from the age of twelve and complete by age of sixteen

A national test is imposed on all those who complete lower secondary education. Their records are submitted to a National Orientation Commission. Schooling at upper secondary level lasts three years after lower education and leads to the Diplôme d’Etat, which gives access to higher education. . Children usually start upper secondary level from the age of sixteen and complete by age of nineteen.

Technical secondary education lasts seven years. A Diplôme A2 sanctions success in technical studies and a Diplôme A3 is conferred after a cycle of studies lasting five years following upon primary education.

Higher education:

Higher education: is mainly provided by the Université du Burundi. It is largely financed by the State and enjoys administrative and management autonomy. It is administered by a Rector appointed by the President of the Republic for four years. Policy-making is the responsibility of a Governing Board appointed by the President of the Republic and representing the major spheres of activity concerning higher education development. Four private universities have been created recently.

Burundi Education System

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I. INTRODUCTION

 

Burundi operates on the 6-4-3-4 system:

Primary School                       : 6 years

Lower Secondary School         : 4 years

Upper Secondary School        : 3 years

University Bachelor’s degree: 4 years

 

Principal language of instruction is French. Burundi has only one African language, Kirundi, which is studied through secondary school. Studies in English, as a second language, start in primary school in standard 1. Kishwahili is also taught in primary public schools.

 

II. School Education

 

1. Kindergarten schools

 

Kindergarten schools enroll children aged three to six years.

The schools providing this type of education in Burundi are mostly privately owned schools.

2. Primary education:

 

Primary education lasts for six years. On completion of standard six, students must sit for a national test in order to obtain a “Certificate d'Etudes Primaires" (Primary School Leaving Certificate) and to continue on to secondary school in the public system. Those that have higher percentage test results continue to public high schools while those with low percentages attend communal colleges (the percentage is based upon the average overall test results).


Note: in the 1970’s and 1980’s the number of primary school students who passed the national test was approximately 25-35%. At present, with more schools available, the percentage has risen to 45-50%.

Since 2005 primary school fees have been free of charge to all Burundian nationals.


3. Secondary education:

Secondary education is divided into lower and upper secondary education.

1.     Lower secondary education

It is available to those who pass the National Entrance Examination and lasts for four years. A national test is imposed on all those who complete lower secondary education (4th year of lower education). Their records are submitted to a National Orientation Commission to determine which section the student would specialize in for the last three years of study.

 

1.     Upper secondary level

Upper secondary level takes another three years after lower education. It consists of three areas of study:

i.  Scientific A: major in mathematics and physics

ii. Scientific B: major in biology and chemistry (mathematics and

physics are also considered)

iii. Literary: arts, languages

 

After completion of upper high school, the student must pass another test leading to Diplôme d’Etat (State’s certificate), which gives access to higher education (University studies).

If the student passes the test he/she will have access to a small scholarship that includes lodging and meals at the State University.

After the 4th year of lower secondary school, if the student is not lucky to be orientated in the above mentioned three areas of study, he/she may be orientated to:

*       State technical schools for disciplines such as agronomy, nursing, accounts, electricity, and mechanics:

-         Two years technical school = diploma A3, and one looks for a job.

-         Three to four years technical school = diploma A2 which gives access to the state university or work.

 

 

1.     4. Technical secondary education lasts for five or seven years. It is also available for those who pass the National Entrance Examination done in the last year of primary school (standard 6). A2 Diploma sanctions success in a cycle of technical studies lasting for seven years and A3 Diploma is conferred after a cycle of studies lasting five years.

 

1.     5. Teacher Education

2.     A. Training of kindergarten and primary schools teachers

Primary school teachers are trained in "lycées pédagogiques" which    offer studies for two years. Those who join “lycée pedagogique” have finished the lower secondary education. In-service training of primary teachers is a regular activity of the Office for Rural Education (BER).

 

1.     B. Training of secondary school teachers

Secondary school teachers are trained at the University of Burundi         from which they graduate after four years in various specialties. Some       teachers specifically trained for secondary education, are also trained at the Pedagogical Institute for three to five years. They may also be trained in "Ecoles Normales Supérieures."(Higher Teachers’ Institute)

 

1.     6. Higher education:


Higher education: is mainly provided by the Université du Burundi. It is largely financed by the State and enjoys administrative and management autonomy. It is administered by a Rector appointed by the President of the Republic for four years. Policy-making is the responsibility of a Governing Board appointed by the President of the Republic and representing the major spheres of activity concerning higher education development.

 

1.     A. University level studies

The Burundian state university “University of Burundi” is recognized by UNESCO. This is the only Public University in the country.

Faculties are: Economics, Law, Medicine, Biology, Agronomy, Applied Science, Teaching, Arts (Languages), Geography, and Physical Education and Sports.

University first stage: Candidature

The first stage of study consists of the first 2 years of study in the preparation for the Bachelor’s degree. It leads to the Candidature.


University second stage: Bachelor’s degree (“Licence” in French)

A further two year-study beyond the Candidature leads to the Bachelor’s degree. In Civil and Agronomic Engineering, courses last for five years and lead to the award of the professional title of Engineer.

N.B. The Engineer Technician Degree is conferred after three or four years'

training in the technical institutes.

In the Medical Faculty, the professional title of Doctor is awarded after 7 years of study; the student receives a Doctorate. For doctors to specialize, they must leave Burundi to study abroad.

 

At the university level marks are graded out of 20 points. Ten points is a pass although 12 points is an acceptable pass.

At the present time, both state and most private universities of Burundi do not offer Masters’ degree except for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Burundi, and Faculty of business administration and leadership/management at Light University (Université Lumière).

 

1.     B. Higher Institutes

Non-formal studies consist of in-service courses offered by the Institut supérieur de Gestion d'Entreprise for management professionals. There are two levels of training: short cycle training for holders of the Diplôme d'Etat and long cycle training for holders of degrees in economics or their equivalent. Evening courses are also organized in computer sciences.

1.     7. Private school system

2.     A. Cost

Numerous private schools both primary and secondary have opened their doors in recent years in Bujumbura and in the interior of the country. The average school fees vary between $20 and $70 per term in primary school and between $30 and $100 per term in high school.

 

The Belgian and French schools of Bujumbura school fees vary from 678 to 700 Euro per term in primary school and from 800 to 973 Euro per term in secondary school.

 

1.     B. Private Universities

In the past eight years there has been a proliferation of private universities:

Université Lumière in Bujumbura Municipality

Hope Africa University, Bujumbura Municipality

Université Sagesse d’Afrique, Bujumbura Municipality

University of Lake Tanganyika, Bujumbura Municipality

University Martin Luther King, Bujumbura Municipality

Great Lakes University, Bururi Province

University of Ngozi, Ngozi Province

University of Mwaro, Mwaro Province

University Peace and Reconciliation(Paix et Réconciliation), Bujumbura Municipality

8. Grading System

A. Primary and Secondary School
Full Description 0-100%:

·         90-100%: Excellent

·         80-89%  : “La plus grande distinction”(The highest distinction)

·         70-79%  : “Grande distinction”(High distinction)

·         60-69%  : Distinction

·         50-59%  : Satisfaction/Pass

·         below     : 50% fail

N.B. In some private schools, the “pass” varies between 55 and 65.

B. Higher Education Institutes
Full Description 0%-100%:

·         90-100%: Excellent

·         80-89%  : La plus grande distinction ”(The highest distinction)”

·         70-79%  : Grande distinction ”(High distinction)”

·         60-69%  : Satisfaction/Pass

Burundi as a member of the EAC is in the process of  harmornizing its sysytem to ensure students from the other member states could study in its public institutions.

Kenyan students have visited Burundi from both the primary, teriarry and university levels to learn from their peers in this EAC member state.

 

 

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