Universities in Burundi


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About universities in Burundi

Education in Burundi is in a poor condition, and higher education (colleges and universities) especially so. Burundi has fewer college graduates as a percentage of the population than any other country in Africa. 90% of Burundi’s higher education is provided by a single institution, the University of Burundi, located in the Burundian capital of Bujumbura. With 3,124 students in a country of over 6 million people, the school’s tiny size is an indication of the scarcity of higher education in this small, largely impoverished African nation. Its course offerings are fairly comprehensive given its small size, largely as a result of the fact that the university has absorbed and integrated several other institutions that were once independent. The University of Burundi offers degrees in such areas as agriculture, commerce, and pedagogy, as well as law, arts, and humanities. Its students come almsot exclusively from the Burundian elite, as there is little or no way for poor people to attend the school.
 
Part of the reason for Burundi’s poor showing on indicators of educational health is the plague of ethnic violence that has gripped the nation since independence in 1962. The  two main ethnic groups, the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis, were pitted against one another under the Belgian system of colonization, which elevated the Tutsis above the Hutus by offering them education, power, wealth, and other advantages. This created resentment amongst the Hutus, and has caused a cycle of violence and revenge spanning almost 50 years. Higher education is in no way exempt from this violence and ethnic tension – in fact, it is in many ways at the center of it. The Tutsis, who still rule the country, have largely barred the Hutus, who make up the majority of its population, from attending the University of Burundi, and the few who do get in are targets for harassment and are often prohibited from taking certain classes. In academic year 1995-96, a massacre occurred at the University of Burundi in which scores of Hutu students enrolled in the college were murdered by Tutsi classmates. Since then, the University has been almost exclusively Tutsi.
 
Fortunately, there is some small progress being made in the effort to extend educational opportunities to the oppressed Hutu people. A new university in Ngozi, northern Burundi, has been founded as an independent school not governed by the University of Burundi structure. It has grown to almost 600 students and climbing, of whom roughly half are Hutu. This is an encouraging trend. A free, equitable, and independent system of higher education, capable of serving Hutus and Tutsis equally, is the greatest hope not only for the country’s educational future but also for stability, development, and eventually peace.

List of universities in Burundi

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Contact: Université du Burundi

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Burundi B.P. 1550, Bujumbura, Burundi