During the 2000s, relatively large investments were made in education. At the end of the 1990s, about 80 percent of Burundi’s adult population was literate, compared with just under 40 percent in 1990. Officially compulsory schooling (7-13 years) is compulsory. In 2010, 85 percent of the elementary school age were enrolled. The language of instruction is round. More than 60 percent of the children complete primary school, and about 40 percent go on to secondary school.
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Secondary education, which also includes vocational and teacher education, is highly sought after and the entry requirements are high. Almost 20 percent of 16-20 year olds attend upper secondary schools. The language of instruction is French.
The country’s only state university, in the capital Bujumbura, has about 13,000 students. In addition, there are some smaller private universities. In 2012, government spending on the education sector was just over 16 percent of the state budget.
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In January 2013, Burundi was subject to the UN Human Rights Council’s periodic review. Many governments expressed concern in the Council about the number of political murders, impunity for human rights violations, restrictions on press freedom and several other issues. The Burundi government rejected all the Council’s proposals to fight impunity for political assassinations. It also rejected proposals aimed at preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and finally rejected proposals to decriminalize homosexuality.
In March 2013, police shot into a crowd of believers near Businde in Kayanza province, killing 9 men, women and children. The group of believers perceived themselves as Roman Catholic, but were not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church in the country. There had already been several clashes between the faithful and the authorities. Hundreds had been arrested in late 2012 and early 2013 and charged with “rioting”. In March-April 2013, another 200 were arrested. They were summarily sentenced the same day up to 5 years in prison, and without access to defense attorneys. Following the appeal, most convictions were reduced to fines.
In June, the government passed a new press law that drastically curtailed the freedom of the press, and it also made a bill restricting assembly and demonstration freedom.
The leaders of most opposition parties who had been in exile up to the 2010 elections returned to the country during 2013 in preparation for the 2015 election campaign.
In March 2014, Nkurunziza banned jogging due to “fears it is a cover for undermining business”. According to the BBC, the tradition of jogging on Saturday morning started during Burundi’s many years of ethnic conflict. Bujumbura residents were drained of frustration and fear of the armed partisans in the hills surrounding the capital by running – often in groups. Also in March, 21 supporters of the opposition MSD were sentenced to life imprisonment for using jogging to organize an illegal demonstration that developed violently.
In May, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, chairman of one of the country’s human rights organization (Association pour la protection des droits humains et des personnes détenues, APRODH), was arrested after speaking on the radio based on allegations that young Burundians were armed and trained in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was charged with endangering state security and using false documents. The 66-year-old Mbonimpa was released 4 months later for “health” reasons. The arrest of Mbonimpa was part of a general offensive against presumptive critics of the regime and opposition in preparation for the 2015 elections. in 2015. Restrictions that came after a series of violent assaults by the government’s youth organization – including in the form of assaults at meetings organized by the opposition.