African University Students Reject Non-Democratic Regimes, Says New Survey

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A new study of universities and democratic citizenship in three African countries finds that more than two-thirds of students (69%) always prefer democracy and more than 80% always reject non-democratic regime types such as one-party rule, military rule and presidential strongman rule as alternatives to democracy for the way their national government should work.

The study was undertaken to determine whether and how higher education in Africa contributes to democratisation beyond producing the professionals that are necessary for developing and sustaining a modern political system.

The University in Africa and Democratic Citizenship: Hothouse or training ground? reports on student surveys conducted at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania

The study was conducted for the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa, HERANA, a major initiative launched in 2007 and coordinated by the Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET) in Cape Town, and supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The report concludes that the universities were "akin to a hothouse in that they provide a unique environment for awareness and knowledge about politics to blossom. However, once a student leaves the university the hothouse effect may well disappear."

Read report.