Democratic dividend: the road to quality education in Africa

Author(s): Krönke, Matthias; Olan'g, Lulu

Organisation(s): Afrobarometer

Date: 2020

Pages: 34 p.


This policy paper relies primarily on Afrobarometer's survey data from 45,823 interviews completed in 34 countries between September 2016 and September 2018. The survey findings point to promising signs for education in Africa, including steady if modest progress in educational attainment and the widespread perception of equal opportunity for girls. Even so, the SDG4 target of “inclusive and equitable quality education and … lifelong learning opportunities for all” remains an ambitious challenge, particularly in countries (such as Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea) where a majority of adults have no formal schooling at all, and even more so in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries vary dramatically in how citizens think their governments are doing on education. At one end of the spectrum, eight out of 10 respondents in Ghana and Eswatini said their government was doing a fairly or very good job. At the other end, fewer than one in five Gabonese and Moroccans agreed. By testing four sets of possible explanations for these evaluations, statistical analysis reveals that the accessibility of school services and the perceived transparency and accountability of school officials have a significant and positive impact on how citizens view their government’s efforts to provide education. More broadly, democracy matters: Citizens are more likely to be satisfied with the delivery of education if transparency and accountability at the school level are embedded in a broader political system that encourages these qualities.

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