The Republika y'u Burundi (République du Burundi) is a landlocked country in southwestern Africa bordered by Rwanda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Lake Tanganyika. The population is 8,691,005 and the literacy rate is 59.3%. Kirundi and French are the official languages, and Swahili is spoken along Lake Tanganyika and in the area of Bujumbura.
The first inhabitants of present-day Burundi were the Twa pygmy tribes who arrived in 70,000 BC. The Hutus arrived approximately 5,000 years ago from central Africa. By the late 15th century AD, the Tutsis arrived. In 1899, Burundi became a German colony and, following its defeat in World War I, Germany handed over Burundi to Belgium. Burundi, along with present-day Rwanda, formed the Belgian colony of Ruanda-Urundi. On July 1, 1962, Burundi was granted independence from Belgium. Since that time, there have been periodic battles between the Hutu and Tutsi factions resulting in the deaths over 250,000 people.
Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 12, although attendance is not enforced. Most students only complete 10 years of education.
École primaire (Primary school) is 6 years beginning at age 6. Upon completion, students are awarded a Certificat de Fin d'Études Primaires.
Admission to lower secondary school is based on the result of the National Entrance Examination. Academic lower secondary school is offered at collèges (colleges) and is a 4-year program leading to the Certificat du Tronc Commun. Academic upper secondary school is offered at lycées (highschools). Until 2017 upper secondary was three years leading to the Diplôme d'État. Since 2017 the upper secondary academic track was reduced to 2 years (for a total of 12 years of primary/secondary education) resulting in the Certificat des Humanités Générales.
Technical secondary school offers a 5-year program following primary school leading to the Technicien A3 and a 7-year program leading to the Technicien A2.
Currently, education in Burundi is overseen by the country's Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique.
Admission to the Université de Burundi requires a Diplôme d'État. First-level university programs begin with the 2-year program leading to the Diplôme de Candidature followed by a 2-year program leading to the Diplôme de Licence. After the first-cycle, and completion of 3 years of university study (180 ECTS credits), students are awarded with a Baccalauréat. Engineering programs leading to the Diplôme ďIngénieur are 5 years following a Diplôme d'État.
Beginning in 2010-2011, in response to the Bologna Process in Europe , Burundi implemented the Baccalauréat-Mastère-Doctorat (BMD) education cycle. The Baccalauréat is a first cycle degree and awarded upon completion of three years of university study (180 ECTS credits). Admission requires completion of upper secondary school validated by the Diplôme d’État. Holders of the Baccalauréat may continue their studies or seek employment.
Second and Third Cycle
In the BMD-implemented education cycle, the Mastère is a second cycle degree and awarded upon completion of two years of university study (120 ECTS credits). There is a research/academic based Mastère (Mastère de recherche), as well as a professionally-oriented one (Mastère professionnel). Admission requires the Baccalauréat and on completion provides access to further education or employment.
The Doctorat is a third cycle degree awarded upon completion of three years of university study. It requires the Mastère for admission and on completion provides access to employment.
Graduate programs leading to the Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA) and the Diplôme d'Études Supérieures Spécialisées(DESS) are 1-2 years and require a Diplôme de Licence or a Diplôme ďIngénieur for admission. Doctoral programs are offered in conjunction with universities in Belgium and France.
Primary school teachers are trained at lycées pedagogiques (pedagogical upper secondary school) in a 4-year program following the Certificat du Tronc Commun. Lower secondary and secondary school teachers are trained at the Institut de Pédagogie Appliquée (Institute of Applied Pedagogy). The lower secondary teacher program is 3 years and leads to the Diplôme Professionnel ďEnseignement. The upper secondary teacher program is 4 years and leads to the Diplôme de Licencié Agrégé de ľEnseignement Secondaire. Both programs require a Diplôme d'État for admission.