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Since the crisis of 1993, Burundi has been going through a period of instability and conflict and is still living under ongoing strife. The author analyzes decade-long survival strategies in the education sector during a period of conflict and the attempts made to salvage and rebuild the school system.The study leans on a very interesting historical perspective which re-examines the most common assumptions about being Hutu, Tutsi or Twa. This clarification is indeed essential to understand the experience of schooling in Burundi today and the potentially negative effects of schooling. The big challenge facing Burundi is to forge national unity and a strong education system. Burundi has powerful lessons for future education planning in situations of emergency, all phases of emergency and displacement being present in the Burundi experience.