Using mobile furniture to keep children in school


By RACHEAL NABISUBI

The story of Covid-19 which will forever stay etched in our minds has created challenges and opportunities for some businesses. 

Although some sectors were re-opened and others remain closed, a number of Standard Operating Procedures must be followed to curb the spread of Coronavirus.

For the education sector, innovations have been made to revolutionise the education system world over.

One such innovation is SeatPack that enables children to stay in school while following the Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Mr Leon Mugagga, the chief executive officer, SeatPack, says that the innovative solution was tailored to address challenges faced by children in Ugandan schools such as lack of desks and ensure social distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The idea was birthed on resolving the inadequacy of desks in schools, pressures from population growth and increasingly endangered forest cover, the 600 gram school bag unfolds into a seat and contains a writing pad,” Mr Mugagga says.

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Eco-friendly

It is environmentally and economically sustainable. A SeatPack is an African bag brand which donates a profit from each urban bag it sells, to making and giving a School-SeatPack.

The personal school-bag turns into a mobile bamboo-chair with a writing surface for a primary school child, creating mobile classroom furniture for the African continent.

“The School-SeatPack is an all-weather school bag that performs as a mobile, personal desk for primary school children whose classrooms have no or insufficient furniture,” Mr Mugagga, a graduate in Environmental Design and Architecture from Uganda Martyrs University says.

 Due to under-facilitation, post-conflict or post-disaster situations, the SeatPack is a scalable option that is 90 per cent cheaper to make and distribute than a traditional wooden-classroom-desk.

He adds that mobile classrooms make the safest schools today because they allow social distancing to limit Covid-19 spread.

For such reasons, the SeatPack brand partners with organisations and private companies keen on impacting quality of education across Sub-Saharan Africa, while availing incomes to more than 65 local-artisans along its value chain.

“This personalised mobile furniture meets a key requirement for safer-classrooms during Covid19 containment; flexible, mobile – classrooms that allow social distancing during school hours,” he says.

 According to Tutudesk, 2017, the pre-Covid-19, over 95-million African children did not afford traditional-wooden classroom furniture (desks/lockers) while averaging 77 children per classroom without furniture to aid writing and reading.

Mr Mugagga notes that in a post-Covid19 era, meeting space recommendations for safer schools with 77 children per classroom requires an alternative, flexible and cheaper than the $110 wooden locker.

With school closures in Uganda presenting remote learning options such as television and online lessons, the 79 per cent…



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