Until 1954, all education was provided by religious missions; it was almost entirely limited to the primary grades. Education is now compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 13. Primary education lasts for six years. The languages of instruction in schools are Kisundi and French. General secondary education lasts for seven years, while vocational secondary education usually lasts for five. The percentage of eligible children attending school decreased from 28% in 1967 to 18% in 1975 before rising to 51% in 1992. As of 1999, 45% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while only about 5% of eligible young people attend secondary or technical schools. The shortage of trained teachers and administrators is acute. The projected rate of adult illiteracy for the year 2000 stands at 51.9% (males, 43.7%; females, 59.5%). In 1996 Burundi had 1,501 schools at the primary level with 10,316 teachers and 518,144 students. At the secondary level in 1994–95, there were 47,636 students enrolled in general education. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 57 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, public expenditure on education was estimated at 3.9% of GDP.
The University of Burundi, in Bujumbura (founded in 1960), is the country's only institution of higher learning. At all higher level institutions in 1992–93, a total of 4,256 students were enrolled with 556 teaching staff.