Declining Performance: Africans Demand More Government Attention to Educational Needs

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, sub-Saharan Africa was leading the world with impressive gains in primary school enrollment, though the continent still faced enormous challenges of equity and education quality. The pandemic threatens to wipe out two decades’ worth of progress on education, with millions of children set back by lengthy school closures, lack of access to distance learning, and the diversion of education funding to other priorities. But Afrobarometer survey findings from 34 African countries show that citizens’ satisfaction with their educational systems was declining even before the pandemic, as countries surveyed in 2019 and early 2020 record the same drops in public approval ratings as those surveyed since the onset of the pandemic. Overall, for the first time in more than two decades, a majority of respondents in an Afrobarometer survey round say their governments are failing them on education.