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Lack of conformity between Indian classroom furniture and student dimensions: proposed future seat/table dimensions

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Children spend one-quarter of a day in school. Of this, 60-80% of time is spent in the classroom. Classroom features, such as workspace and personal space play an important role in children's growth and performance as this age marks the period of anatomical, physiological and psychological developments. Since the classroom is an influential part of a student's life the present study focused on classroom furniture in relation to students' workspace and personal space requirements and standards and was conducted in five schools at Mumbai, India. Dimensions of 104 items of furniture (chairs and desks) were measured as were 42 anthropometric dimensions of 225 students from grade six to grade nine (age: 10-14 years). Questionnaire responses of 292 students regarding the perceived adequacy of their classroom furniture were collected. Results indicated that the seat and desk heights (450 mm, 757 mm respectively) were higher than the comparable students' anthropometric dimensions and that of the recommendations of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) (340 + 3 mm, 380 + 3 mm seat-heights, 580 + 3 mm 640 + 3 mm desk-heights) as well as Time-Saver Standards (TSS) (381.0 mm seat-height and 660.4 mm desk-height). The depth of the seats and the desks (299 mm, 319 mm, respectively) were less than comparable students' anthropometric dimensions and the recommendations of BIS (IS 4837: 1990). Students reported discomfort in shoulder, wrist, knee and ankle regions. Based on the students' anthropometric data, proposed future designs with fixed table-heights and adjustable seat-heights along with footrests were identified.
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Keywords: Anthropometry; Classroom; Furniture; Standards

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: TIFAC CORE in Ergonomics & Human Factors Engineering, National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai, India

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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