I hypothesise that autocratic school systems are more suitable for cultures that have greater reverence for authority figures, and democratic school systems are more suitable for cultures with less reverence for authority figures. Trying to impose teaching on a student that does not respect you or your profession is difficult, while democratic or liberal schooling systems that are child-centred will likely not work so well if students are overly concerned with the authority figures. A democratic/liberal schooling environment relies on the student taking advantage of the conditions/rules, while the autocratic system relies on subservience.
Australia’s educational culture has shifted towards less reverence for teachers, while maintaining a coercive, autocratic schooling environment. The result is constant conflict in the classroom, or passive disengagement.
In our current society of relative freedom and opportunity, I think subservience and excessive reverence for authority is not something to be desired. You need to dictate your own life, and reverence for authority in your formative years will likely leave you unprepared for adulthood. Fostering a sense of empowerment and responsibility is much more likely to equip a student for life. Therefore, we should be increasingly aiming for students to direct their own learning, and to engage with teachers in voluntary ways rather than coercive ways. A democratic/liberal school is most suitable to achieve these goals.