Burundi has a free and formally compulsory
nine-year compulsory school. The children should start
school at the age of six. Almost all Burundian children
start school, but the dropouts are relatively many.
The school system was severely affected by the armed
conflict that took place in the country during much of
the 1990s, when many teachers were killed or fled and
many school buildings were destroyed. For a long time,
the children's absence in school was high, but it
dropped significantly during the 2000s and 2010s.
Country facts of Burundi, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
The influx of pupils increased especially rapidly
when the tuition fee was abolished in 2005. However, as
a result, school classes grew and could contain up to
150 pupils. The newly-appointed Nkurunziza government
then built lots of new schools. The quality of teaching
has suffered when teachers have been too few and new
syllabuses have been introduced without preparation.
Although the semester fee has been abolished, it is
expensive for parents to keep their children in school.
For example, they have to pay for school uniforms and
In the lower classes, the teaching is held in the
Bantu language, Kirundi, while English and French apply
in the higher grades. In high school, teaching is also
conducted in Swahili.
The proportion of reading and writing literate adult
Burundians has increased during the 2000s and 2010s. It
is estimated that around four out of five adults can
read and write, slightly more men than women.
A small minority of students go on to the
corresponding high school. The only state university is
located in Bujumbura. There are also several smaller,
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Burundi in each level - compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
96.6 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
61.6 percent (2014)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
19.9 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
19.9 percent (2017)
Strict rules for foreign organizations
Parliament adopts a series of strict rules for the
activities of foreign organizations in the country;
First and foremost, the rules for their finances are
being tightened. Aid and human rights organizations must
open accounts with the Central Bank for their assets in
foreign currency. While waiting for the government to
approve their operations, they must deposit a sum
equivalent to one-third of the annual budget there. The
organizations are also affected by new administrative
fees, and they must report on their business every six
months. They are also forced to hire more Huts than
Tutsis when recruiting domestic staff. The government
has long accused foreign organizations of favoring Tutsi
Assassination attempt on the president's adviser
Four senior officers are arrested for suspected
involvement in an assassination attempt on Willy
Nyamitwe, one of the president's top advisers. One of
Nyamitwe's bodyguards is killed but he himself escapes
with minor injuries.
Organizations are prohibited
Five Burundian human rights organizations and five
associations, including a journalist association, have
their work permits revoked by the government. They are
accused of disrupting public order, stirred up hatred
and tarnished the reputation of the nation.
Burundi decides to leave the ICC
Parliament votes to Burundi shall provide the
International Criminal Court (ICC), which can make
statesmen and other accountable for war crimes and
crimes against humanity . ICC investigates allegations
of abuse committed in Burundi during the wave of
violence since spring 2015. President Nkurunziza signs a
law that states that Burundi should leave the ICC. The
process is expected to take one year. Burundi then
becomes the first country to suspend its membership of
The UN sends investigators
The UN decides to send a survey team to Burundi to
investigate the abuses that three UN experts say have
taken place since the wave of violence began in the
spring of 2015. The three UN experts are declared
persona non grata (undesirable persons) in Burundi,
announcing that the country breaks its cooperation with
the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.
Opposition leaders are imprisoned
Gervais Niyongabo, leader of the opposition party
Fedes-Sangira, is arrested by police and arrested. He is
accused of being a member of an armed group and posing a
threat to state security. Niyongabo is one of the few
opposition leaders who has not gone into exile.
UN experts warn of genocide
Three independent UN experts present a list of people
they believe should be prosecuted, some of them for
crimes against humanity . The experts say they have
found, among other things, evidence of 564
extra-judicial executions, rapes, torture and arbitrary
arrests. The majority of those affected opposed
President Nkurunziza's re-election for a third term. The
list of suspected perpetrators shall be submitted to the
UN Commissioner for Human Rights. The designated persons
shall have senior positions in the security forces and
shall report directly to the President. The experts also
warn that the government's rhetoric may trigger a
genocide . The government rejects the information in the
No to UN police
The UN Security Council decides to send 228 policemen
to Burundi, but the government refuses to let them in.
The government justifies its refusal to oppose all
fundamental principles of cooperation within the UN and,
in particular, violates Burundi's sovereignty.
Youth unions are accused of group rape
Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses youths within the
CNDD-FDD of partying of raping women who they believed
had links to the opposition. The youth organization
Imbonerakure has long been accused of violence against
political opponents. HRW bases the allegations on
interviews with more than 70 rape victims in a refugee
camp in western Tanzania.
Peace talks beaches
An attempt to get new peace talks in Tanzania
stranded at the last moment when the government's
delegation refuses to meet representatives of the
opposition and civil society.
UN warns of state murders
According to the United Nations Human Rights Office,
at least 348 people have been killed by state security
forces since April 2015. Among the suspected killers are
also militia linked to the government party. The
violence in Burundi during this time has driven more
than 270,000 people to flee the country.
Scribbling school children are turned off
More than 230 schoolchildren are suspended from
teaching after one of them scribbled on a portrait of
President Nkurunziza. For the time being, they have been
collectively suspended since everyone has refused to
reveal who violated the head of state.
Lifetime Prison for Coup Maker
Twenty-one army officers are sentenced to life
imprisonment for participating in the coup attempt in
Burundi is under review by the ICC
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal
Court ICC , Fatou Bensouda, decides to initiate a
preliminary investigation of the circumstances in
Burundi. She says reports of murders, illegal prisons,
torture, rapes and other sexual violence as well as
abductions under duress indicate that the abuses fall
within the jurisdiction of the ICC.
A prominent general, belonging to the Tutsi people
group, is murdered along with his wife as they drive
their daughter to school. The car gets shot and is also
attacked with hand grenades. General Athanase Kararuza
has been a security adviser to one of the country's vice
presidents and former commanders of the international AU
force in the Central African Republic.
UN police to Burundi
The UN Security Council unanimously adopts a
resolution urging Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to draw
up plans in consultation with the Burundi government to
send an international police force to the country.
The EU withdraws budget support
14th of March
The EU is withdrawing all direct financial support to
the Burundi government after failing to take action to
find a political solution to the crisis in the country.
The EU finances about half the state budget. Disaster
relief is not affected by the budget support withdrawn
and the EU promises to continue to support the basic
needs of the population, but not through the government.
Quarter million on the run
4th of March
According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, the
violence in Burundi since spring 2015 has driven about
250,000 people into flight. More than half have sought
shelter in Tanzania, where refugee camps are
AU observers on their way
The African Union will send 100 human rights
observers and 100 military observers to Burundi, said
South African President Jacob Zuma, who led a delegation
of African leaders.
Promises of dialogue
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said during a visit
to Burundi that he made promises from both the president
and opposition leaders to start a dialogue on ending the
ten-month crisis in the country. However, it is unclear
which opposition leader President Nkurunziza is prepared
to meet, as most are either fugitive or imprisoned or
have joined the armed resistance movement. The unrest in
Bujumbura mainly continues, with almost daily attacks.
Grenade attacks in Bujumbura
A small child is believed to have been killed and
about 10 people injured in a series of hand grenade
attacks in the center of Bujumbura and in a suburb of
the capital. Similar attacks have become increasingly
common since the end of January, but it is unclear who
is behind them.
AU gives in
30th of January
The AU seems to back away from the threat of sending
a peace force to Burundi against the government's will.
Disagreement within the African Union means that the
organization decides to send diplomats instead of
soldiers, hoping to create a dialogue. At the same time,
Burundi is being re-elected to a seat on the AU's Peace
and Security Council, which makes it even more difficult
No to the UN appeals
Ambassadors from the 15 countries of the UN Security
Council fail to persuade Nkurunziza to join
international mediation and to enter the AU's planned
The coup general becomes a rebel leader
The newly formed rebel movement Forebu announces that
former General Godefroid Niyombare has been named its
leader. Niyombare has been on the run since he led the
failed coup attempt in May 2014.
Presidents appeal to the UN
Two of the country's former presidents are appealing
to the UN Security Council to intervene to prevent a
civil war in Burundi and to the AU to send a peace
force. Behind the appeal are Domitien Ndayizeye, who was
president from 2003-2005, and Jean-Baptiste Bagaza who
led the country from 1976 to 1987.
Lifetime for coupe makers
Four men are sentenced to life imprisonment for
attempting to overthrow the government in May 2015.
Among them is former Defense Minister Cyrille
Ndayirukiye. Nine army and police officers are sentenced
to 30 years in prison. Eight soldiers are sentenced to
five years and seven are acquitted.
The UN warns of collapse
UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein
warns in a statement about a near-collapse of law and
order in Burundi. He refers to reports of mass rape on
women in connection with army raids in December and that
mass graves were found in parts of Bujumbura.
Eyewitnesses have described how hundreds of people were
found dead on the streets following the army's strike.