Burundi has a low-income economy, with 80% of the population working in the agricultural sector. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the Great Lakes region, with 11.8 million inhabitants. The Burundi government has made substantial progress in terms of supporting access to education and ensuring its quality. Since 2005, when primary education was offered free of charge to everyone, the Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) reached 112.7% during the 2019/2020 school year, without significant differences between provinces, gender, or income.
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic stopped a delicate economic recovery and intensified the macroeconomic disparities. Today, two years after its outbreak, the situation is slowly improving, with an estimated economic growth of 2.5 % for 2022 against 1.8% in 2021.
GER can exceed 100% due to the inclusion of over-aged and under-aged students, meaning they either started school early or late, some even having to repeat a grade.
ST Foundation’s Presence
The Foundation decided to add Burundi to the operational countries in 2009. The DU Program was introduced to support all those disadvantaged communities that did not have any means to access ICTs. Over the years, the Foundation’s presence was consolidated and reinforced, with the primary goal of contributing to solving the country’s educational challenges. As a result, new infrastructures were created, and the Internet was made available to students and partnering schools.
The current pandemic impacted the Foundation’s efforts in the region. Following the government’s guidelines, activities were limited, but they have never been completely stopped.
As of September 30, 2022, 13 operational centers in different schools (mainly public organizations) offer opportunities to improve the educational system. Since its inception, the DU Program has reached over 116,000 students who discovered the computer and technology world for the first time.