Africa may have the fastest growing school-age population globally but African countries are facing various difficulties on the path to offering these fast-growing populace quality education.
One of the many manifestations of this fact is the overcrowded classrooms that are a commonplace occurrence in government schools across various African countries.
The problem of overcrowded classrooms is closely woven in with teacher shortages in Africa. Large pupil enrollment occurs as governments try to cross the hurdles of not having enough teachers to fill in roles and this leads to overcrowded classrooms.
Schools in many African towns and cities, especially the major ones, register above fifty students in classrooms which is clearly above the internationally recommended standard.
Teachers in Africa fall well below the number that can furnish the growing populace. In fact, to shore up the deficit and achieve universal primary and secondary education in Africa by 2030, Unesco estimates that 19.6 million primary and secondary school teachers need to be hired.
The problem of overcrowded classrooms is an important one because the classroom is the heart of any educational system. Most class activities take place while students are seated in classrooms, therefore, the seating arrangement is too important to suffer the kind of neglect being experienced by many schools in Africa.
Seating arrangements, which are haphazard at best in overcrowded classrooms, can make or mar a lesson. Ideally, seats should be arranged in rows with reasonable amounts of space in between. This allows for appropriate interactions in the classroom but with a ration of 1:50 or 1:150, as the case may be in teacher student ratios of overcrowded classrooms, appropriate interactions are near impossible.
Below we list the African countries with the most overcrowded classrooms and Madagascar leads the group;
- Madagascar- 250
- Central African Republic- 138
- Sao Tome & Principe- 113
- Chad- 96
- Niger- 71
- Benin- 68
- Sierra Leone- 61
- Guinea- 61
- Cameroon- 58
- Ghana- 57
- Togo- 54
- Eritrea- 50
- Liberia- 47
- Senegal- 45
- Lesotho- 43
African governments need to look towards decongesting classrooms so that school-age children can get the best out of the educational systems in place in their countries.