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
(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.
(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
(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
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: 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
Burundi operates on the
: 6 years
School : 4 years
School : 3 years
University Bachelor’s degree:
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.
Secondary education is divided
into lower and upper 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.
Upper secondary level takes
another three years after lower education. It consists of three areas of study:
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.
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.
5. Teacher Education
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).
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
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.
The Burundian state university “University
of Burundi” is recognized by UNESCO. This is the only Public University in the
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”
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
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).
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.
7. Private school system
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
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.
B. Private Universities
In the past eight years there
has been a proliferation of private universities:
Université Lumière in Bujumbura Municipality
Hope Africa University,
Université Sagesse d’Afrique,
University of Lake Tanganyika,
University Martin Luther King,
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
Full Description 0-100%:
“La plus grande distinction”(The highest distinction)
“Grande distinction”(High distinction)
60-69% : Distinction
50-59% : Satisfaction/Pass
below : 50%
N.B. In some private schools,
the “pass” varies between 55 and 65.
B. Higher Education Institutes
Full Description 0%-100%:
La plus grande distinction ”(The highest
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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