Aline Nizigama’s family moved from country to country to flee violence in Burundi, but her parents never let go of their dreams of educating their children so their lives could be better.
In June 2017, the Global Partnership for Education Secretariat approved US$416,927 for Burundi to conduct an education sector analysis and develop a transitional education plan over a proposed...
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'...

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.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2016-2018 20,100,000 7,739,309 UNICEF
2013-2016 32,800,000 32,800,000 Belgium
  TOTAL 52,900,000 40,539,309  


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/Trained 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 had lived through since 2015 has a great impact on 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 compromised in certain areas.

The crisis also led several development partners to suspend their funding and leave the country, making it more difficult to sustain 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 closing date has been postponed 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 pool funded project contributed to achieving the following results between 2013 and 2016:

  • The repetition rate was 22% in cycles 1 to 3 (former primary education) in 2015-2016 compared to 29.1% in 2012-2013
  • The repetition rate in cycle 4 (former lower secondary education) was 14.8% in 2015-2016, compared to 22.1% in 2012-2013
  • The ratio of pupils per classroom in basic education is 73 in 2012-2013 and 2015-2016
  • Introduction of a 7th year of schooling in primary school (called “enseignement fondamental”), allowing more than 181,201 students to continue to attend school rather than dropping out in secondary.
  • The gender parity ratio improved to 1.01 in 2015-2016, compared to 0.98 in 2013. However, the national trend favoring girls hides considerable disparities in provinces such as Cibitoke, Kirundo, and Muyinga, where more boys than girls attend school.
  • 13.9% average annual growth in enrollments in secondary school between 2004-2005 and 2015-2016

Source: Burundi EMIS

Last updated September 05, 2017