Desk Construction Materials and their Longevity

PDF - 255 KB
Helpdesk Query:

Evidence to support or refute a supposition by Government that desks made of plastic are longer lasting and more cost effective/ better VFM than the traditional 3-seater wooden variety found in most African schools.


School desks are very important and there has been a lot of research to show their impact on improving learning, more so, in fact, than a school building does. Research has shown that physical facilities have more of an impact in developing countries than in the UK and USA.

There any many things to consider when deciding between wooden and plastic desks. In industrialised countries, educators define furniture needs based on catalogues and showroom samples. This approach is often not applicable in developing country settings. Any comparison is easier with mass produced products as otherwise, the variability between each type of desk is too great.

This report considers various factors and has sections on:

    • Key resources and research
    • Type of material
    • Quality of materials
    • Construction
    • Durability
    • Unit cost
    • Environmental effects
    • The setting
    • Availability of materials
    • Other useful resources


PDF - 255 KB

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