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Burundi Democratic Process

The general election by universal election held in June 1993 resulted in victory of the Democratic Front party of Burundi (FRODEBU). Unfortunately, the Burundi first democratically elected president Melchior NDADAYE was assassinated in October 1993 after only four months in office. Since then, some Burundians have perished in widespread, often intense ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions. Hundreds of thousands have been internally displaced or have become refugees in neighboring countries.

Burundi Peace Process Negotiations have been taking place for four years in Arusha, Tanzania and Pretoria, South Africa, between all the Burundi parties and political movements in an effort to put an end to violence and find a new peace formula for all. The peace initiative led to signing of the Arusha Peace and reconciliation agreement on 28 of August 2000 which designed a transitional power sharing arrangement between the signatories to this agreement.

Until quite recently, the negotians between the transitional government of Burundi and the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for Defense of Democracy (CNND-FDD) have resulted to the signing the Pretoria Protocol on Political, Defence and Security Power Sharing in Burundi on October 8, 2003.

Burundi has been ruled since the beginning of the internal peace process in 1998 by an internal partnership for peace made up of two transitional institutions: the Government and the National Assembly. This partnership is in fact a Government of national coalition.

The Chief of State and Head of Government, President Domitien Ndayizeye (FRODEBU) was sworn in as President for the second half of the three-year transition government inaugurated on 1st November 2001. He assumed power on April 30, 2003 as part of the transitional government established by the 2000 Arusha Accord. He has a Vice-President, Mr. Alphonse Kadege (UPRONA), from a party and a social group different from those of the President of the Republic.

Transitional Government of Burundi

President of Republic
Mr. Domitien Ndayizeye
Mr. Frederic Ngenzebuhoro
Minister for State in charge of Good Governance and State Inspection
Minister for External Relations and Cooperation
Mr. Thérence Sinunguruza.
Minister for Interior
Mr. Simon Nyandwi
Minister for Public Security
Mr. Fulgence Dwima-Bakana
Minister for Justice, Keeper of Seals
Mr. Didace Kaganahe
Minister for National Defense
Gen. Maj. Vincent Niyungeko
Minister for Development Planning and Reconstruction
Mrs. Séraphine Wakana
Minister for Communal Development
Mr. Cyrille Hicingtuka
Minister for Repatriation, Reintegration,Resettlement of Displaced Persons and Repatriatees
Mrs. Françoise Ngendahayo
Minister in charge for Peace Mobilization and National Reconciliation
Mr. Antoine Butoyi
Minister for Land, Environment and Tourism
Mr. Albert Mbonerane
Minister for Agriculture and Livestock farming
Mr. Pierre Ndikumagenge
Minister for Handicraft, Vocational Training and Adult Literacy
Mr. Godefroid Hakizimana
Minister for Labor and Social Security
Mr. Dismas Nditabiriye
Minister for Public Service
Mr. Gaspard Kobako
Minister for Finances
Mr. Athnase Gahungu
Minister for Commerce and Industry
Mr. Thomas Minani
Minister for National Education
Mr. Salvator Ntihabose
Minister for Social Action and Women Promotion
Mrs. Marie Goretti Nduwimana
Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture
Mr. Barnabé Muteragiranwa
Minister for Public Health
Dr. Jean Kamana
Minister for Communications and Government Spokes-person
Mr.Onésime Nduwimana
Minister for Public Works and Equipments
Mr. Salvator Ntahomenyereye
Minister for Transportations, Posts and Telecommunications
Mr. Séverin Ndikumugongo
Minister for Energy and Mines
Mr. André Nkundikije
Minister for Institutional Reforms, Human Rights and Relations with the Parliament
Mr. Déogratias Rungwamihigo
Minister in charge of fighting AID/HIV
Mr. Luc Rukingama


Other national Institutions

Senate: Mr. Libère BARARUNYERETSE, President
National Assembly: Dr. Jean Minani, Speaker
Supreme Court: Mr. Adrien Nyankiye
Audit Office: Mr. Fulgence Bakana

Burundi Education System

Institution Types & Credentials

Types of Higher Education Institutions:
Université (University)
Institut Supérieur (Higher Institute)


Higher Education Credentials:

Diplôme d'Etat
Ingénieur technicien
Diplôme d'Ingénieur
Doctorat en Médecine
Diplôme d'Etudes approfondies (DEA)
Diplôme de Spécialité
Doctorat de Spécialité (3e Cycle)


Structure of Education System

1. Kindergarten
Length of program : 2 years
Age level: 3 to 5
Type of school providing this education: Private schools

Structure of school system:

2. Primary
Type of school providing this education: Ecole primaire
Length of program in years : 6
Age level from: 6 to 12
Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat de Fin d'Etudes primaires (Primary school leaving certificate)

3. Lower Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Collège
Length of program in years: 4
Age level from: 12 to 16
Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificat du Tronc commun (Lower Secondary Level Certificate)

4. Technical Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Technical Secondary School (Lower Level)
Length of program in years: 5
Age level from: 12 to 17
Certificate/diploma awarded: Technicien (Technician Diploma A3 for Lower Level)

5. Technical Secondary
Type of school providing this education: Technical Secondary School (Upper Level)
Length of program in years: 7
Age level from: 12 to 19
Certificate/diploma awarded: Technicien (Technician Diploma A3 for Upper Level)

6. Upper Secondary School
Type of school providing this education: Lycée
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from : 16 to 19
Certificate/diploma awarded: Diplome d'Etat


School Education

Primary education:
Primary education lasts for six years leading to the Certificat d'Etudes primaires (elementary education).

Secondary education:
Secondary education is divided into lower and upper secondary education. Lower secondary education is available to those who pass the National Entrance Examination and lasts four years. A national test is imposed on all those who complete lower secondary education. Their records are submitted to a National Orientation Commission. Schooling at upper secondary level lasts three years after lower education and leads to the Diplôme d'Etat, which gives access to higher education. Technical secondary education lasts seven years. A Diplôme A2 sanctions success in technical studies and a Diplôme A3 is conferred after a cycle of studies lasting five years following upon primary education.


Higher education:
Higher education: is mainly provided by the Université du Burundi. It is largely financed by the State and enjoys administrative and management autonomy. It is administered by a Rector appointed by the President of the Republic for four years. Policy-making is the responsibility of a Governing Board appointed by the President of the Republic and representing the major spheres of activity concerning higher education development. Four private universities have been created recently.


Main laws/decrees governing higher education

Decree n° 100/181 of 1988 concerning the Ministry of Education
Decree n°1/025 of 1989 concerning the reorganization of educational system
Academic year: October to June
Long vacation from: July 1st to October 1st
Languages of instruction: French
Stages of studies: Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type)
Non-university level: Several Ministries organise higher level courses.


University level studies

University level first stage: Candidature
The first stage of study in preparation for the Licence lasts for two years and leads to the Candidature.

University level second stage: Licence

A further two year-study beyond the Candidature leads to the Licence. In Medicine, the professional title of Docteur en Médecine is awarded after a further four years of study following the Candidature. In Civil and Agronomic Engineering, courses last for five years and lead to the award of the professional title of Ingénieur. The Diplôme d'Ingénieur Technicien is conferred after three or four years' training in the technical institutes.

University level third stage: Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies (DEA) or Doctorat de 3ème Cycle


A Diplôme d'Etudes approfondies is conferred in subjects such as Computing, Physics and Agricultural Planning following the Licence or the Diplôme d'Ingénieur. In Medicine, there are two stages which lead to a professional Doctorat in Medicine after six years and a Special Doctorat after five more years of study and the presentation of a major thesis in Clinical Biology, Paediatrics, Surgery, Gynaecology and Internal Medicine. The University also awards a Doctorat de 3ème Cycle.

Teacher Education

Training of pre-primary and primary/basic school teachers

Primary school teachers are trained in "lycées pédagogiques" which offer studies divided into two cycles of two years each. In-service training of primary teachers is a regular activity of the Office for Rural Education (BER), a curriculum development agency.

Training of secondary school teachers

Secondary school teachers are trained at the University of Burundi from which they graduate after four years in the various specialities. Some teachers specifically trained for secondary education, are also trained at the Pedagogical Institute for three to five years. They may also be trained in "Ecoles normales supérieures."

Non-traditional studies

Other forms of non-formal higher education

Non-formal studies consist of in-service courses offered by the Institut supérieur de Gestion d'Entreprise for management professionals. There are two levels of training: short cycle training for holders of the Diplôme d'Etat and long cycle training for holders of degrees in economics or their equivalent. Evening courses are also organized in computer sciences.

National Bodies

Administration & Coordination
Responsible authorities:
Ministry of National Education (Ministère de l'Education Nationale)
Head: Prosper Mpawenayo, Minister
PO Box 1990
Bujumbura, Burundi
Tel: 257(22) 5112/5514
Fax: 257(22) 6839
Role of governing body: Central Administration and Coordination

Admissions to Higher Education

Admission to non University Higher Education Studies
Name of secondary school credential required: Diplôme d'Etat
Minimum score/requirement: Varies according to year
Alternatives to credentials: State examination

Admission to University-level studies
Name of secondary school credential required: Diplôme d'Etat
Minimum score/requirement: Varies according to year
Alternatives to credentials: A State Examination is required for the Higher Technical Institute.


Foreign students admission

Admission requirements:

  • Foreign students must have followed seven years of general education (High school diploma) or hold a technician diploma
  • They must hold a visa and a residence permit
  • They must have a good knowledge of French language
  • They must apply to the national body for entry to the University through the National Commission of Orientation to Higher Education at following address:
    PO Box 1990
    Bujumbura, Burundi
    Tel: 257(22) 4407
    Fax: 257(22) 8477

Recognition of Studies & Qualifications

Studies pursued in foreign countries (bodies dealing with recognition of foreign credentials): National Commission for Diploma Equivalance , School Titles and Universities
Head: Aaron Barutwanayo
PO Box 1990
Bujumbura, Burundi
Tel: 257(22) 5112/5514

Special provisions for recognition:

For access to university level studies: The holder of a foreign credential must submit to the "Commission d'Equivalence des Titres et Diplômes universitaires" the following data: curriculum vitae/resume specifying the duration of the training abroad; total number of hours of all the training modules; contents of training programmes; methods of assessment, and certified copy of the original credential.

For access to advanced studies and research: Same as above.

Multilateral agreements concerning recognition of foreign studies

Name of agreement: Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and Other Academic Qualifications in the African States


Year of signature: 1981 References to further information on foreign student admissions and recognition of studies
Title: Vademecum de l'Etudiant
Publisher: Université du Burundi


Student Life

Main Student Services at National Level:

Régie des Oeuvres universitaires (ROU)
PO Box 1644
Bujumbura, Burundi
Category of services provided: Social and welfare services

Secrétariat du Service académique de l'Université du Burundi PO Box 1550
Tel: 257(22) 2059 and 257(22) 3468
Fax: 257(22) 3288
Category of services provided: Academic and career counselling services

National Student Associations and Unions and Association des Etudiants RUMURI (ASSER)
PO Box 1644
Bujumbura, Burundi

Special student travel fares:
By air: Yes
Student expenses and financial aid

Bureau des Bourses d'Etudes et de Stages (BBES)
PO Box 1990
Bujumbura, Burundi
Tel: 257(22) 5112 and 257(22) 5514
Fax: 257(22) 6839
Category of services provided:information on student financial aid


Grading System

A. Secondary School
Full Description 0-100%:

  • 90-100%: Excellent
  • 80-89%: La plus grande distinction
  • 70-79%: Grande distinction
  • 60-69%: Distinction
  • 50-59%: Satisfaction
  • below : 50% fail

Highest on scale: 100%
Pass/fail level: 50%
Lowest on scale: 0%

B. Higher Education Institutions
Full Description 0%-100%:

  • 90-100%: Excellent
  • 80-89%: La plus grande distinction
  • 70-79%: Grande distinction
  • 60-69%: Distinction
  • 50-59%: Satisfaction
  • below : 50% fail

Highest on scale: 100%
Pass/fail level: 50%
Lowest on scale: 0%


Source: UNESCO Web site and Ministry of National Education, Department of Higher Education, Bujumbura, Burundi 2001



January 1 New Year's Day
February 5 National Unity Day
May 1 Labor Day
Thursday the 40th day after Easter Ascension Day
July 1 Independence Day
August 15 Assumption
October 13 Prince Louis Rwagasore's Day
October 21 President Melchior Ndadaye's Day
November 1 All Saints' Day
December 25 Christmas Day



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