The youth component of the population is a source of hope for the country and for the transformation of existing structures. To this end, it is vital to educate young people. Since 2007, education is compulsory for all children under the age of 17. Great financial efforts were made to increase the numbers of children attending primary and secondary schools.
Secondary schools were built throughout the country from 1990 onwards. During Compaoré’s second mandate (1998-2005), high schools opened in close to 300 departments, and the Ouagadougou University was given the opportunity to welcome more students; in addition, other universities were inaugurated in Bobo Dioulasso and Koudougou.
With the Plan décennal de développement de l’éducation de base (PDDEB/ 2002-2012 – Ten-year Basic Education Development Plan), which cost 235 billion FCFA (about 360 million US$), 800 schools were built in only three years (between 2002 and 2005) and nearly 3,000 teachers were hired.
In 2012/13: 74,276 students were enrolled in 179 University and Higher Education Institutes operating in Burkina Faso. The budget for the Ministry of Secondary and Higher Education and Scientific Research represented more than 5 % of national budget in 2013.
On June 16, 2006, President Compaoré laid the first cornerstone of the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering, 2iE. Since then, 5,000 young people have been trained in strategical sectors for development in Africa. Furthermore, the CERBA Research Centre became a reference in West Africa for Research on Molecular Biology and Applied Genetic.
Two Burkinabè students won a Berkeley’s University Competition ($ 25,000) with their invention of Faso Soap that effectively fights malaria by repelling the mosquitoes that are still killing 1 million people per year worldwide. Prof. Yvonne Bonzi, professor and researcher in chemistry at the University of Ouagadougou was awarded the prestigious Kwamé Nkrumah Scientific Award for Women in 2013 that included a $ 20,000 prize money. And, the biggest optic telescope of Africa was to be installed on the mount Djaogari ( 1 506 feet or 459 m), near Dori (North) in 2014 to serve astrophysics research at the University of Ouagadougou and research worldwide.
In 2014, 55,000 students – compared to 20,000 in 2005 – were registered in the Ouagadougou University, 10,000 in Bobo Dioulasso, and 5,500 in Koudougou. As the number of young university graduates increased, matching work opportunities were getting scarce, which led to seething frustrations. In short, young people could get a Diploma, but no Job.
Before Compaoré’s departure, a National Action Plan to Develop Higher Education (PNADES 2014-2023) was initiated with a financial commitment of $2 billion over the next decade: a yearly investment of 113 billion FCFA or $200 million.