Education is assumed to be an important influence on citizens’ understanding and endorsement of democracy, but whether this occurs in newly democratic societies with relatively low levels of educational provision is less clear. This paper explores the effect of education on understandings of and support for democratic government in Malawi - paying particular attention to the consequences of primary schooling, which remains the modal experience of Malawian voters. Analysis of a national survey indicates that primary schooling promotes citizen endorsement of democracy and rejection of non-democratic alternatives even when it has taken place under authoritarian rule, without explicit civic education.
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