Students critical about Bachelor Master System

Students from public and private universities in Burundi worry about their qualification. According to them, the qualification in the new system Bachelor- Master- PhD system (BMD)is not sufficiently clear.-By Lorraine Josiane Manishatse

 Philbert Nzohabonayo, Representative of students at Advanced Teacher’s Training (ENS) ©Iwacu

Philbert Nzohabonayo, Representative of students at Advanced Teacher’s Training (ENS) ©Iwacu

In the academic year 2011-2012, the government of Burundi implemented the new BMD educational system through the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Students now complain that the qualification they receive after completing their studies is not recognized by the Ministry of Civil Service, a major employer in Burundi’s labor market. “We want official recognition of the bachelor qualification”, says Philbert Nzohabonayo, representative of the students of the Advanced Teacher’s Training (ENS). He indicates that the official documents on Higher Education don’t mention the bachelor qualification, nor it’s classification by the Ministry of Civil Service.

“We notice that the Ministry of Higher Education is very slow in the process of diploma recognition, whereas the first students will receive their bachelor degree at the end of this academic year. What is their future in the labor market? ”, Nzohabonayo complains.
Students therefore ask the Government to release texts explaining the academic degree of their diploma’s in the BMD system. They also ask the government to improve teachers’ performance. “The BMD system requires students to do more independent research. But unfortunately laboratories and libraries are not equipped for this and the lack of teachers is a considerable handicap for our success”, Nzohabonayo says, at the request of his fellow students.

Universities in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda already use the Bachelor-Master system, as do most universities in Europe and the USA. The Burundi Government implemented the system in order to harmonize the education system with other EAC countries, making it easier for Burundi’s students to find employment abroad. The Ministry of Higher Education and the spokesman of the University of Burundi could not comment on the process of officially recognizing the BMD qualifications.