Tips to control a highly populated school

Two more West Nile schools closed as student strikes take toll | Monitor
A school in the West Nile recently closed due to a strike.

A large number of people of people, no matter where, is hard to control. However, a school is another level of difficulty due to the following reasons;

  • It’s hard to know each one’s academic strengths and weaknesses
  • All students come from different backgrounds, therefore behave differently.
  • Students are prone to influence from other students.
  • The teenage effect
  • It’s hard to tell when and how chaos might break out, since students have their own methods.

In highly populated schools, there are a couple of social and moral risks including;

  • Strikes that can potentially happen any time
  • Sexual immorality among students
  • Sexual relationships between students and teachers
  • Vandalism of school property
  • Drug abuse
  • Poor academic performance

It takes a lot of hard and consistent work, but strategy plays a great role in ensuring that a school remains peaceful and safe, despite being highly populated. The following reasons will show you why a school like Masaka Secondary School has managed to control a population of 4,000 students. 

1. Create enough space

First of all, you can’t handle a large population of students if you don’t have enough space where they can fit. By this, I mean;

  • Expanse of land that’s large enough to accommodate the facilities
  • Enough classrooms for all students to study simultaneously.
  • Enough dormitories for boarding schools.
  • Idle land for expansion, in case the number keeps increasing.

By creating enough space, your students will find the environment conducive, and that’s one of the best and most important ways that you can manage a school.

2. Avail enough resources

Every school can run smoothly if the administration avails a long slew of resources including;

  • Water
  • Food
  • Electricity
  • Enough teachers
  • Enough furniture
  • Well-stocked labs and library.

With enough resources, parents can rest assured that their children have whatever they need to get good grades. On top of that, students will have no reason to complain or get lured into counterproductive activities.

3. Set clear rules and regulations

Young people are so energetic, and it’s so easy for them to channel their energy in the wrong direction if they’re not properly guided. This is why rules and regulations are so important in every school.

Every administrator should set rules that include;

  • The principles and ethics of the school.
  • What should be done
  • What shouldn’t be done
  • The penalties thereof

On top of setting these rules, you have to enforce them and pin them at every point where students can see them. If any student happens to break the rules, enforce the punishment without fear or favor.

4. Set routines for students and staff

As a school administrator, you probably already know that the students and members of staff don’t run on autopilot. This means you have to have a set of stipulated timeframes that each staff member should follow.

Also make sure it aligns with that of the students.

However, the routines you set will be useless if they aren’t enforced consistently. This partly calls for punishment to anyone that fails to adhere.

5. Administer penalties without hesitation

Just to drum this point into your ears (or eyes), penalties are very important as far as rules and regulations are concerned.

This is because everyone follows rules because they know, and probably are afraid of what will happen if they don’t.

6. Monitor the students

Since there’s a wide gap between students and teachers, it is very important to keep your eyes and ears to the ground. This will keep you ahead of possible chaotic situations like strikes, arson or violence. Here’s how;

  • Install surveillance cameras (if you can).
  • Get yourself some spies among students
  • Use matrons and wardens in charge of boarding students.
  • Let some teachers sleep in the school premises.

While monitoring the students is important, you have to make sure not to take anything lightly, just like a huge fire can start with just a small matchstick. Don’t ignore any leads.

7. Detect chaos and annihilate it

Adding on what I said about leads, there are always a couple of signals that show you what students could be planning.

As you might know, chaos is very dangerous and can even lead to the permanent closure and/or extinction of a school.

Therefore, it’s your role to detect the few notorious students and/ or teachers that could cause it, and deal with them accordingly.

  • Separate privileges from rights

As a school administrator, there’s some times that you might want to give your students or staff a little treat, just once in a while. Some of those treats include;

  • Special food (once-in-a-while diet)
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Rewards for academic performance
  • Trips
  • Parties. Etcetera

While this is a very good thing to do, some students might get used to it, and actually get angry when you stop giving it to them. In many schools, this has turned out catastrophic. Here’s how to prevent such a situation;

  • Tone it down. Don’t overdo it, because you’ll also be blameworthy if you do.
  • Let students know their rights and their privileges
  • Create a special payment plan for students that are interested and addicted.

9. Deliver on what the students expect

While we’re talking about rights and privileges, you have to deliver on what students expect from you. Just so we’re clear, not each and every expectation of theirs Is valid. Therefore, only deliver on what you are supposed to deliver.

10. Tighten your security

Sometimes, school administrators find themselves in tough positions because they did not strengthen the security around their premises ahead of any threat. Below are the things that can go wrong due to loose security.

  • Students can easily escape
  • Smuggling of illegal substances is entirely possible.
  • The school can be invaded by outsiders.
  • Chaos can easily break out within
  • Stolen property can be easily sneaked outside the school.

There are many ways that you can tighten your security, which include;

  • Hiring security guards from reputable companies
  • Fencing the entire school premises completely
  • Dismissing anyone who jeopardizes the security.


Some of the worst case scenarios arise from failure to communicate efficiently and effectively with your students and staff. Through proper and transparent communication, you can easily stay in touch with your people, and in turn prevent mistakes like these.

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