Education in Burundi | Global Partnership for Education



In fragile states and countries experiencing crises such as Burundi GPE’s priority is to keep education going and remain a neutral, universally accepted player to help maintain partners'...
In most countries above the Equator, children are going back to school these days. However, not all children live the excitement of getting back into a classroom.

Education in Burundi

The government of Burundi has identified education as a core focus of its long-term development vision. In 2013 Burundi allocated 17.2% of its public expenditure budget to education, equivalent to 5.4% of GDP (Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics).

The current education sector plan, Programme sectoriel de développement de l’éducation et de la formation (PSDEF) covers the years 2012-2020 and sets out to “achieve universal primary education and to educate the majority of youth until they reach an age where they can find their place in society.”

To achieve this vision, the government of Burundi has laid out the following sector priorities:

  1. Decongestion of schools and increased fluidity between education levels through:
    • classroom construction
    • reduction of repetition rates
    • reduction of double-shift classrooms so as to increase actual learning time
  2. Reform of the secondary school cycle to introduce a nine year basic education cycle and encourage secondary school enrollment after six years of primary
  3. Strengthening sector-management through:
    • accelerated decentralization
    • improvement in financial management, human resource management, pedagogical supervision
    • data collection
    • better construction planning and management
  4. Increasing equity through:
    • reduction of double-shift schools, disadvantageous to both teachers and students
    • inclusion of gender issues in the curriculum
    • increased support to students with special needs by working with NGOs and other partners to establish pilot programs
    • construction of accessible schools


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2016-2018 20,100,000 2,781,884 UNICEF
2013-2016 32,800,000 32,800,000 Belgium
  TOTAL 52,900,000 35,581,884  


Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.


Primary Gross Enrollment Rate (%)

Primary Completion Rate (%)

Lower Secondary Completion Rate (%)

Out-of-school Children Rate (%)

Domestic Financing

Public Expenditure on Education as Share of GDP (%)

Public Expenditure on Education as a Share of Public Expenditure (%)

Public Expenditure on Primary as a Share of Total Education Expenditure (%)


Student/Teacher Ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

GPE in Burundi

A school child smiles in the courtyard of Kanyosha Primary School in Burundi. Credit: UNICEF Burundi/Nijimbere

In 2012, the GPE Board of Directors approved a grant of US$52.9 million for 2013-2016 with Belgium as grant agent.

The political crisis that the country experienced since 2015 has had a big impact on the education sector:

  • some schools were closed, students missed exams, and the school year 2015-2016 could not start on time
  • there were large population movements inside the country and to neighboring countries
  • some schools were occupied by police or military forces, and the political neutrality of the education sector was compromised in certain areas.

The crisis also led several development partners to suspend their funding and leave the country, making it more difficult to maintain progress.

Initially set up as a pooled-fund arrangement aligned to Burundi’s education sector plan, the grant was restructured in 2016 after the political crisis and is now managed as a program with UNICEF as grant agent; its deadline was extended to 2018.

The program’s objective, in line with the priorities that had been identified at the start of the program, is to minimize the impact of the crisis on the education system and children’s schooling. It has three components:

  1. Consolidate access to education and improve equity in basic education through school building and rehabilitation, equipment and awareness campaigns
  2. Improve education quality, including through curriculum reform
  3. Improve management of the education system through capacity building and better data collection and analysis.

In Burundi, the local education group is led by UNICEF (coordinating agency).

Source: Program document for Burundi. July 2012


The GPE grant has recently been restructured. However the pool funded project contributed to achieving the following results between 2013 and 2015:

  • 62% of students transitioned from 6th to 7th grade, over the target of 58% for the project
  • Introduction of a 7th year of schooling in primary school (called “enseignement fondamental”), allowing more than 145,000 students to continue to attend school (rather than dropping out in secondary)
  • 105 girls attend school for every 100 boys. However, this national trend favoring girls hides considerable disparities in provinces such as Cibitoke and Ruyigi, where more boys attend school than girls
  • 14.1% average annual growth of enrollments in secondary school between 2003 and 2013.

Source: Implementation report (December 2014)–Rapport de Suivi Q3 & Q4 2014

Last updated January 05, 2017