Classroom furniture standardised to fit students

Published: 05/07/2011 05:00



VietNamNet BridgeThe Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has set standards for the measurements and dimensions of classroom furniture in response to reports that ill-fitting equipment was causing students discomfort.

Relevant ministries jointly issued a circular mandating that the size of desks and chairs be adjusted to the students’ height, divided into six groups from 100cm to 175cm. The different standard sizes of furniture can be put in one classroom.

The desks and chairs will be produced separately, designed both for one and two students. Sharp edges will be avoided for safety reasons.

The new circular, effective on August 1, would help schools throughout the country make their classrooms conducive to learning and student comfort, said Pham Ngoc Phuong, deputy head of MoET’s Material Facilities Department.

At present, almost all primary schools—and even some secondary schools—were using the same desks and chairs for students from grades one through five, said Phuong.

An expert from MoET said that, in addition to furniture standards, the number of students in one class needed to meet the ministry’s regulation size at 35-40 students. She added that the circular might be changed to implement across schools with different classroom sizes.

Almost all schools in the country were currently equipped with one-size-fits-all desks and chairs, which is not suitable for students with heights of 1m - 1,55m, said Viet Nam School Equipment Company director Dr Le Anh Dung.

“Viet Nam is still using regulations from 1975 that are out of date and not appropriate for today’s students,” Dung said.

The circular doesn’t seem to affect students who are enjoying their summer vacation. “In my class, there are two kinds of furniture: a combined set of desk and chair and separated ones. For me, they are OK,” said Nguyen Hoang Long, a 12th grader of Viet Duc High School.

Dr Nguyen Duc Thu, former head of the MoET Physical Education Department, conducted a survey at six primary, secondary and high schools in Soc Son and Hoan Kiem districts in Ha Noi. He found that 30.8 per cent of students were suffering from spinal variation and 6 per cent were humpbacked.

The higher the grade of the student, the more vulnerable he or she is to back problems. Two per cent of students are humpbacked at the primary level, 4 per cent at the secondary level and 6.2 per cent at higher levels in urban areas. The rate of students suffering from spinal variation is 27 per cent in primary school, 24 per cent in secondary and 23 per cent at high levels.

About 150 cases of the delta myasthenia disease in Vat Lai Commune, Ba Vi District, show that the disease may be correlated to ill-fitting furniture, according to a survey by the Viet Nam School Equipment Company.

However, the new standards leave school officials wondering what to do with the furniture they will be forced to discard to comply with the circular. Each high school has an average of 45 classrooms and one classroom has 48 desks and chairs, over 2,000 items in total. They also wonder how they will pay for the new furniture.

To implement the circular effectively, schools’ management boards expected more funding from their localities as well as other sources of financial assistance, said Phuong.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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