Education in Burundi

The government of Burundi has identified education as a core focus of its long-term development vision. In 2016 Burundi allocated 27.5% of its public expenditure budget to education, equivalent to 9% of GDP (Source: Ministry of Finance).

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.

Blogs and news

 Fabiola during an awareness raising session at school. Credit: Humanity & Inclusion
November 13, 2018
Meet Regine, a parent peer educator in Burundi, whose job is to raise awareness among parents of children with disabilities about their right to education.
UNICEF, with the support of GPE, launched  the “Back to School” campaign to help more than one million children get learning materials in seven of the most deprived provinces in Burundi.
February 07, 2018
UNICEF, with the support of the Global Partnership for Education, launched the “Back to School” campaign to help more than one million children get learning materials in seven of the most deprived...
Alice Albright greets the First Vice President of Burundi  His Excellency Bernard Busokoza in December 2013. Credit: GPE/Chantal Rigaud
January 25, 2018
In December 2017, the Global Partnership for Education Secretariat approved a US$234,000 grant for Burundi to develop a new education program.

Latest grant

Happy children in Burundi. Burundi, September 2013.

CREDIT: UNICEF Burundi/Nijimbere
Development objective: Minimize the impact of the crisis on the education system and children's schooling by improving access to and quality of education, as well as improving management of the education system.
Grant agent:UNICEF

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 had lived through since 2015 has affected the education sector::

  • several schools were closed, students missed exams, and the school year 2015-2016 could not start on time
  • there were large population displacements 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 threatened in certain areas.

The crisis also led several development partners to suspend their funding and leave the country, thus reducing sector resources.

Initially set up as a pooled-fund arrangement aligned to Burundi’s education sector plan, the grant was restructured in 2016, one year after the political crisis started and is now managed as a program focusing on a few of the key priorities of the Sector plan, with UNICEF as grant agent; its closing date was revised 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 co-led by UNICEF (coordinating agency).

Source: Program document for Burundi. July 2012


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation 2016-2019 20,100,000 13,455,083 UNICEF Progress report
2013-2016 32,800,000 32,800,000 Belgium
Sector plan development 2017 416,927 - UNICEF
Program development 2017 234,000 - AFD
  TOTAL 53,550,927 46,255,083    

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Burundi. For detailed results from GPE funding, please look for progress reports in the grants section.


Primary completion rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)

Public expenditure on education as a share of public expenditure (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained (%)

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.

Last updated September 26, 2018