Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations


Education, Democracy, Africa


The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the relationship between education and democracy. It argues that in order for education to have a meaningful impact on prospects for a sustainable democracy, educational systems must support democratic principles and ideals. The main focus of this study is Africa. In order to assess this hypothesis, the study uses a case study approach examining the education models of three Africa countries: Botswana, Ghana, and Uganda- to determine whether education has played a role in fostering democratic values in society. These three countries were chosen because each offers a variation on Africa's political development; Botswana has maintained its democracy since independence; Ghana has reverted to democracy after oscillations of civilian and military rule; and, Uganda has adopted formal democratization after 30 years of autocratic rule and civil war. Ever since the nationalist movements of the 1950s and 1960s, education has played an integral role in the development policies of many African countries. In recent decades, due in part to various constitutional reforms directed towards a revival of democracy, governments have implemented universal education programs and committed extensive budgets to educational development. Moreover, there has been special emphasis on promoting civic education as a means of improving democratic citizenship. The study finds that in Botswana, education has supported a fairly robust democracy but much remains to be done with respect to democratic rights. In Ghana, the education system is based on a model of inclusiveness but there remains rural to urban and gender disparity. Finally, in Uganda, the education system has helped to maintain stability but not democratic legitimacy. This study concludes that while African education models have to a certain degree promoted democratic ideals, it is not clear that they have yet been sufficient for fostering democratic values and behaviors.


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