This study assessed on the effects of overcrowded class rooms in academic performances. The specific objectives were, to determine the challenges facing teachers in teaching overcrowded classes, to examine relationship between overcrowded classrooms and their performances and to identify and describe the alternative methodology that the teachers use in teaching overcrowded classes. The study was conducted in four schools namely, Arusha secondary school, Arusha Meru International school, Enaboishu secondary school and Enyoito secondary school in Arusha municipality. A cross-sectional research design was used in the study and sample size for the study was 40 respondents (10 respondents from each school). Purposive sampling techniques were used to obtain respondents from each school.

Generally, the study found that more than 90% of teachers in Arusha municipal where the research was conducted, it shows that most of teachers are teaching overcrowding classes with more than 60pupils in their classes. The remaining 10% of teachers are teaching optional subjects which are science subjects (physics and chemistry) to form III and IV, basically these teachers are teaching classes with few pupils due to the nature of the science subjects. 

 recommendation made is shifting class’s sessions, this were suggested as an alternative way to deal with the situation where by the class sessions are divided into two such that the first session start from 07:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and the other session starts from 12:00 p.m. to 05:00 p.m. 

Further studies should be done to see if overcrowding classes is one of the reasons for mass failures of pupils in schools.  








1.0 Background of the problem 1

1.1 Statement of the problem 3

1.2 Purpose of the study 3

1.3 General objective 3

1.4 Specific objectives 4

1.5 Research questions 4

1.6 Definition of terms 4



2.1 Overview 5

2.1.1 Class size and pupil ratings 5

2.1.2 Class size and effective learning 6

2.1.3 Population growth in Africa 6

2.1.4 Teacher – Pupil Ratio 7

2.1.5 Abolition of school fees 8

2.2 Conceptual Framework 9


3.0 General overview 11

3.1 Target Population 11

3.2 Location of the study 11

3.3 Source of data 11

3.4 Sampling design and sampling procedure 11

3.5 Data Collection and Instruments 12

3.5 .1 Questionnaire method of data collection 12

3.6 Sample size determination 12

3.7 Data analysis procedure 13

3.7.1 Data processing 13

3.7.2 Data analysis 13


4.0 Research Findings and Discussion 14

4.1 Introduction 14

4.2 Background information of the respondent 14

4 .2.1 Name of school 14

4.2.2 Teaching experiences 15

4.2.3 Teaching subject 15

4.3 Teaching more the one class rooms 16

4.4 Number of Pupils in the Class 17

4.5 Overcrowded Classes and Performances 18

4.6 Workshop Training on Overcrowded Class 18

4.7 Method of Teaching Overcrowded Class Rooms 19

4.6.1 Lecture Method 19

4.7.2 Discussion and Presentation 20

4.7.3 participatory and assignment 21

4.8 Overcrowded class room 21

4.9 Teacher-pupils’ Interaction 22

4.10 Challenges Facing Teachers in Teaching Overcrowded Classes 23


5.0 Conclusion and Recommendation 24

5.1 Overview 24

5.2 Conclusion 24

5.3 Recommendation 25

Appendix 1: Questionnaire 27


References 29


1.0 Background of the problem

Overcrowding occurs when a school facility enrolls more pupil than it was designed to accommodate (Hornick-Lockard, 2015). Most schools identified as overcrowded are in areas where the school-age populations are growing fast and most of them in Tanzania are found in urban areas. It had been agreed that overcrowding involves a class of 46 pupils or more.

The issue of poor academic performance of pupil in Tanzania has been of much concern to stakeholders. The problem is so much that it has led to the decline in standard of education. In 2012, only 30.7 per cent of the 865,534 pupils who sat for the PSLE passed the examination (BEST 2009-2014). Similar situation exists at the secondary school in 2012, less than half, 43.1% per cent of all the pupil who sat for the Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations (CSEE) passed the examinations, Basic Educational Statistic in Tanzania (BEST 2009-2014). Both the National Examinations and independent assessments show poor learning outcomes. 

The Tanzanian Government through The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT) has successfully made a lot of efforts to make sure that all children acquire at least primary education in early 1990’s and by doing so new community schools were constructed hurriedly to cater for the expanded intake at secondary due to PEDP I & II. Consequently, no teachers or other related inputs were put in place a prior (URT: 2008a). Since 2000 the number of children enrolled in primary and secondary school has increased by 3 million (Wedgwood 2005)due to implementation of Primary Education Development Programs(PEDP) and Secondary Education Plan (SEDP). Due to this increase it has resulted to shortage of teachers in secondary schools. The Government of Tanzania implemented the Secondary Education Development Program I (SEDP I), to promote economic and social development and reduce poverty through human resource development at the secondary level.

  Large class size and over populated schools have direct impact of the quality of teaching and instruction delivery. Overcrowded classrooms have increased the possibilities for mass failure and make pupil to lose interest in school (Cohen and Manion, 1983). This is because large class size does not allow individual pupil to get attention from teachers which always lead to low reading scores, frustration and poor academic performance. The idea that school population and class size might affect pupil performance is consistent with the growing literature on the relationship between public sector institutional arrangements and outcomes (MOE, 1984). 

  The seating arrangement is therefore too important to help pupil understanding in many secondary schools in the country. As rightly observed by Cohen and Manion (1983) "a careful attention to seating arrangement contributes as effectively as any other aspect of classroom management and control to overall success with a class subsequently".

Seats should be arranged in rows with a reasonable amount of space between them to allow for proper teacher - pupil and pupil – pupil interactions, as well as allow for individual and group work (Cohen and Manion, 1983). To this end, the ratio of teacher to pupil should not exceed 1:40 or at most 1:45 judging by the size of the classrooms. But what one finds in many of these classes is between ratios greater than the ones stated above.

Therefore though a plethora of studies have examined about overcrowded classrooms and performances in secondary pupil, Since the academic success of pupil depends largely on the school environment, it is imperative to examine the impact variables of class size and school population on the academic performance of pupil in secondary school.This study therefore would attempt to assess the effects of overcrowded classrooms in academic performances and looks at how class size affects pupil’ academic performance in secondary schools.

1.1 Statement of the problem

A lot of effort such as free primary education had been made by the Government of Tanzania to increase enrolment of pupils in secondary schools. Still there a big problem of large number of pupil in schools established by the Government known as Community schools, and yet enrollment of pupil increases year after year without considering available resources in these schools such as classrooms, laboratories and libraries

Adesina (1990) also affirms that “one potent index for evaluating educational standards and quality is an examination of the physical facilities available for learning experience”. It has already been stated that fail rate has been increasing dramatically. Several factors for this downfall are likely to be accounted for. This study intends to determine if overcrowded classrooms is one of those factors and to what extent is.

1.2 Purpose of the study

The study was purposely aimed at examining/investigate/explore effect of teaching overcrowded classrooms in academic performances. The study made these problem to be known to the policy makers, education stakeholders as well as the Government, by implementing different recommendation suggested by the study, and then any problems caused by overcrowded classroom may be solved or taken into considerations. 

1.3 General objective

To determine the effect of teaching overcrowded classrooms in secondary schools in their academic performances.

1.4 Specific objectives

⦁ To determine the challenges facing teachers in teaching overcrowded classes. 

⦁ To examine relationship between overcrowded classrooms and their performances.

⦁ To Identify and describe the alternative methodology that the teacher uses in teaching overcrowded classes. 

1.5 Research questions

⦁ What are the alternatives methodology that the teacher uses in teaching overcrowded classes?

⦁ What relationship exists between class size and performance in secondary school?

⦁ What are the challenges facing teachers in teaching overcrowded classes?

1.6 Definition of terms

Academic achievement or performance: Is the outcome of education extent to which a pupil, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals. (Longman English Dictionary).

Overcrowded: Occurs when a facility enrolls more pupil than it was designed to accommodate. (Hornick-Lockard, 2015). E.g if a bus is intended to carry 20 passengers but carries 30, if a class is built to holds 15 pupils but carries 30.

Pupil: A child or young person in school or in the charge of a tutor or instructor. (Longman English Dictionary).

Teacher: Any registered person in accordance with the law who teaches and facilitates the learning process (Tanzania Educational Act 1995).

Teaching: Refers to imparting new knowledge, skills, attitudes, views or ideas to the learners or pupil in a given place at a specific time. (Tanzania Educational Act 1995).



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