Boarding schools, luxury for students from low-income families

Kayanza High School has received fewer students attending boarding school than expected this school year. The increase in school fees has forced some parents to take their children to day-schools especially in communal high schools.

1st Scientific Section Class at Kayanza High School

1st Scientific Section Class at Kayanza High School

“My parents are not able to pay school fees recently set for boarding schools for their three children. We had to leave the boarding school to study in communal high schools, “says H.A., a 2nd year student in scientific section at Lycée Islamique de Kayanza. Over the last school year, he was attending a boarding school and studied in 3rd year in scientific section at Kayanza High School. He was admitted to the upper class but decided to attend a day school due to the lack of funds.

The Minister of Education, Janvière Ndirahisha, issued on July 17, 2018, an ordinance fixing school fees and other contributions for both public and private schools. For post-basic day schools belonging to the government, school fees have been set at BIF 7000 per pupil and per term. As for the others, boarding school fees have risen from BIF 15,000 to 43,000 per term and per student.

Some parents believe only children from wealthy families will have access to boarding schools. “Our purchasing power as ordinary citizens does not allow us to pay more than BIF 40,000 of school fees for a child. We are obliged to send them to communal high schools,” says N.N., a parent whose child was previously studying at Kayanza High School but currently attends Muruta Pedagogical High School which is a day school.

This parent says studying conditions in boarding schools are better than in day schools where pupils from low-income families experience lack of electricity and have to go long distances to school. “At the boarding school, they had electricity and could rest sufficiently.”
N.N says the government should not increase school fees without taking into account the poverty in which the Burundian population lives. “Only the children from wealthy families have access to quality education,” he says.

“A constraint, but quality education”

Juvenal Mbonihankuye, Headmaster of Kayanza High School:  "The school had 755 students in the previous school year but currently has 566 students... "

Juvenal Mbonihankuye, Headmaster of Kayanza High School: “The school had 755 students in the previous school year but currently has 566 students… “

Juvenal Mbonihankuye, Headmaster of Kayanza High School says the school had 755 students in the previous school year but currently has 566 students, including 43 who enrolled in day school system. The 1st Scientist section class has only 24 students while it had 60 last year. The headmaster says parents approached him asking him to let their children keep attending the school but as day pupils.

Mr Mbonihankuye deplores the fact that students attending day schools do not enjoy the same quality of education as those attending boarding schools. “It is a constraint, but a quality education. The director of Kayanza is pleased that the reduction in the number of students in the classrooms is an advantage for teachers and students.

The head in charge of studies of Lycée Islamique de Kayanza affirms to have given places to students who were studying at Kayanza and Gatara High Schools, both of them boarding schools.
A teacher at Don Bosco High School in Ngozi says the number of students at this school has decreased significantly this school year. “Since the announcement of the increase in school fees for boarding schools by the Minister of Education, some students have come to claim certificates of attendance to pursue their studies in communal high schools.”

This teacher says the 2nd Modern Arts class had 63 students in the previous school year but currently has 31 students. Some students have enrolled in day school system to stay in this school which has an excellent reputation.

Herménégilde Burikukiye, Permanent secretary at the Ministry of Education, says the main reason for students to leave boarding schools is the high mark required to students who complete the 9th grade to be admitted to post-fundamental boarding schools.