In Ghana, blackboards coated with battery acid and chalk of low quality are used as a basis for teaching. The Azorli Foundation has begun fundraising for the campaign to raise awareness of the negative effects of the use of blackboards and to replace them with whiteboards. As of August 2015, more than 100 whiteboards, markers and dusters have been provided to and installed at schools in the North and South Dayi Districts in the Volta Region and the project will be extended to other regions within Ghana.
Why do blackboards pose health hazards?
Most schools in Ghana use the old-aged blackboard system and no one pays attention to how these blackboards are maintained. At the initial stage, the school pupils are asked by their teachers to search for old torch light batteries. After a number of them are found, the students then cut them open and remove the black poisonous substances in them and mix them with water, dip a rag or their hand into the mixture and apply it to the boards to make them black. After writing on the blackboards for some time, they turn white again from the chalk dust. This makes it difficult for students to read when teachers write on them. As a result, the pupils need to repeat the same process to make the boards black again regularly.
What are the effects of the usage of chalk?
Research has proven that the chalk produces lots of dust particles which trigger asthmatic attacks in both teachers and pupils alike. The particles also cause allergic conditions among pupils and made teachers and students clothes dirty. The dust from the use of chalk/blackboards also causes eye diseases, bronchitis, respiratory tract infections, and pneumonia in both teachers and pupils in the long-run. Some pupils from homes with poor financial background who get their uniforms dirty from cleaning the blackboards do not come to school at times, due to the fact that they have just one school uniform and would have to wash and wait for them to get dry before going to school again.
The full report can be accessed here: Health Hazards of Blackboards
To set an end to this situation, the foundation is trying its best to solicit for funds in order to carry out a successful transition of blackboards into whiteboards and thus to create a suitable environment for students and teachers alike.
If you want to help us to raise funds and finally stop the usage of the harmful blackboards, and give students and teachers a dust-free work environment, please contact us.