The new School year starting with Post-Fundamental System

On 26 September, all public schools including primary and secondary schools started the new school year 2016-2017 with the first candidates of the “Fundamental School” system. There are some innovations despite challenges.

People lining up in queue at the beginning of the school year 2016-2017

People lining up in queue at the beginning of the school year 2016-2017

Queues of people were formed in front of the offices of secondary schools’ headmasters. Parents, pupils and teachers were present. “I am seeking a place for my daughter in a boarding school”, said a woman met at Lycée Ngagara. She said her kid was orientated far from her house and complained that transportation fees are a big challenge for her family as she is poor. “How on earth shall I cover her needs as I am jobless? I really want my daughter to study at this school! » she said.

Tharcisse Bendantokira, the headmaster of Lycée of Ngagara, one of the newly created schools of excellence, indicated that some challenges were faced as it was the first day of the new school year. “We now have one bed room for 15 girls from school of excellence, which was not there before”, explained Bendantokira. Thirty pupils including 15 girls and 15 boys from four provinces (Bujumbura City, Bujumbura province, Cibitoke and Bubanza Provinces) have begun the 7th grade of the school excellence.

The headmaster indicated that the lack of mattresses is still observed. “500 students out of 900 learning in that school are boarders and yet, we have not had new mattresses for over four years. Only 30 pupils of 7th form got the new mattresses”, he stated.

In addition, schools haven’t yet received enough teachers, textbook etc. “We are still waiting for school materials. The institute in charge of distributing educational equipment can bring them at any moment,” he hoped.

For subsidies, Bendantokira noted that the school is trying to do its best. “We have already incurred debts towards suppliers to feed pupils given that the Burundian Government granted only BIF 800 by one pupil per day, which is not sufficient for them at all,” he said.

Similar challenges were also noticed at Lycée du Lac Tanganyika. Parents and pupils were still looking for the school regulations, files, wanted to buy school uniforms, pay school fees… “A few challenges were met on the first day of the new school year. We have 2500 places but we fear having a huge number of pupils because the orientation process is ongoing”, said Aloys Nimbona, the headmaster of Lycée du Lac Tanganyika. He also indicated that the lack of school materials is a reality. “We hope to get the school equipment for the new pupils enrolled here very soon”, he said.

The new school year began with some innovations including the addition of educational, human sciences, language and economic sections to the arts, scientific and economic sections that were already existing.