Education Reform: Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi

Protocol I

Nature of the Burundi Conflict, Problems Of Genocide And Exclusion And Their Solutions

Principles and measures relating to education

11. Equitable regional distribution of school buildings, equipment and textbooks throughout the national territory, in such a way as to benefit girls and boys equally.

12. Deliberate promotion of compulsory primary education that ensures gender parity through joint financial support from the State and the communes.

13. Transparency and fairness in non-competitive and competitive examinations.

14. Restoration of the rights of girls and boys whose education has been interrupted as a result of the Burundi conflict or of exclusion, by effectively reintegrating them into the school system and later into working life.

Protocol IV Reconstruction and Development Chapter III

Economic and Social Development

Article 15: Principal objectives

The Government shall endeavour to correct the imbalances in distribution of the country's limited resources and to embark on the path of sustainable growth with equity. It shall set itself the following principal objectives:

(b) Providing all children with primary and secondary education at least to the age of 16;

Implementation History


No Implementation

Not all major parties to the conflict signed the agreement until 2003. During this three year gap, implementation of the education reform provision did begin.

In Arusha Accord, parties had identified one of the main causes of armed conflict in Burundi was also related to lack of equitable distribution education opportunities, which parties tried to address in principles and measures related to education. Most importantly, parties were committed to provide free primary and secondary education until the age of 16.

As of 2000, an estimated 70,4785 were enrolled in primary education of which 44.42% were female.1 So far as the government’s initiatives is concerned, the Burundian government also had prioritized education as one of long-term policy priorities in donors conference in December 2000.2

  • 1. "World Development Indicators," World Bank, 2013,
  • 2. "WORLD BANK: Burundi Donor Conference pledges $440 million in urgent aid," M2 PRESSWIRE, December 13, 2000.

No Implementation

No information is available regarding government policy and programs regarding equitable distribution of education opportunities. In fact, there was a lot of chaos in the educational sector in 2004. After students across Burundi’s university called for an open-ended strike to protest the police shooting of one of their classmates, the Education minister gave approval for the school’s shutdown.3 Burundi’s teachers also went on strike asking for increase in their salaries.4 As teachers continued to protest, the government in early March 2004 suspended three teachers’ unions.5 On 14 March, Burundi’s 20,000 public elementary and high-school teacher called off their protest activities and returned to work.6

  • 3. "Burundi university shuts down to punish striking students," Agence France Presse, January 18, 2004.
  • 4. "Burundi: President calls on teachers to resume work," BBC Sumary of World Broadcasts, January 23, 2004.
  • 5. "Burundi government suspends three teachers' unions," Agence France Presse, March 5, 2004.
  • 6. "Burundi teachers end strike," Agence France Presse, March 14, 2004.

No Implementation

No substantive reform took place except for the former rebel leader and the presidential candidate Pierre Nkurunziza’s emphasis on improving health and education services.7 In November 2005, the IMF urged the Burundian government to prioritize healthcare and education and direct funding to support these two sectors.8

  • 7. "Peace, reforms are priorities for Burundi's next government, former rebel chief says," AP Worldstream, August 17, 2005.
  • 8. "MF Urges Burundi Government to Prioritise Social Expenditures," World Markets Analysis, November 17, 2005.

Intermediate Implementation

In May 2006, Burundi adopted a policy to offer free primary education. As the policy went into effect, primary enrollment increased by 30%. Along with offering a free primary education, the government also initiated recruitment of 5,000 teachers on top of the existing 21,000 teachers, increased the education budget by $1.5 million and purchased thousands of benches and blackboards.9 As a result, the net primary enrollment increased from 1,036,859 to 1,324,937. The secondary enrollment also increased from 159,240 to 180,384.10

  • 9. "Burundi Struggles To Implement Free Primary Education," Voice of America News, May 16, 2006
  • 10. "World Development Indicators," World Bank, 2013,

Intermediate Implementation

Burundi received UD$20 million from the World Bank to support the reconstruction of its education sector. The project sought to improve capacity and infrastructure in the school system.11 In March, deputies (members of parliament) were deployed throughout the country to distribute education materials.12 Along with opening new primary schools, Burundi also took initiatives to train 4,203 English, Swahili, and general education teachers.13

  • 11. "Burundi Receives Assistance for Reconstruction Of Education Sector," States News Service, February 20, 2007.
  • 12. "Burundi: Deputies sent to constituencies to distribute school materials," BBC Monitoring Africa, March 2, 2007.
  • 13. "Burundi; Primary Schools Inaugurated in Muyinga," Africa News, Marcy 30, 2007.

Intermediate Implementation

Primary and secondary enrollment constantly increased year over year. In 2008, almost 9% more primary students were enrolled compared to 2007. The secondary enrollment increased by more than 19% between 2008 and 2009.14


Intermediate Implementation

Primary and secondary school enrollment continued to increase.


Intermediate Implementation

Primary and secondary school enrollment continued to increase.


Intermediate Implementation

There was more than a 5% increase in an primary student enrollment between 2010 and 2011. Secondary enrollment increased by more than 12% between 2010 and 2011. Along with increase in student enrollments, primary teachers increased by almost 300% from 12,731 in 2000 to 40,288 in 2011 and secondary teachers from 6,855 in 2003 to 12,968 in 2011.15


Intermediate Implementation

In 2012, the Burundian government announce the universal education program.16

  • 16. "Burundi; Nation's Push for Universal Education," Africa News, October 2, 2012.