School Project

Ngingabafundisani abazali bami? – What can I teach my parents?

School Educational Programs with Installation of Air Quality Monitors.

According to research, children’s lungs are especially vulnerable to air pollution. Overexposure to pollutants can result in chronic respiratory illnesses including asthma and even cancer.

The school project aims to raise awareness of both outdoor and indoor air quality in schools, by providing evidence through monitored air quality that may persuade national and local governments to change policies that will in turn lead to improved health.

Families can learn from each other when they listen and make the most of their time together. Children are already teaching their parents and caregivers, for example, children are often a step ahead of their parents when it comes to technology. By showing their parents how to use smart devices, texting, and using social media children are teaching their parents about new technology and trends that can lead to great discussions and better understanding.

The environmental lessons proposed by CAP can strengthen the triangle of learning that connects students, teachers, and families. By building a more environmentally conscious society and finding new ways of learning we will also strengthen the interactions between children, their parents, and caregivers.

The project envisions the use of incubator schools and beneficiary schools. Incubator schools are those participating private schools with greater resources and beneficiary schools are those under-resourced schools in the affected areas. The incubator schools will “sponsor” the selected under-resourced school. We have identified 4 (four) possible incubator schools and 35 (thirty-five) possible beneficiary schools.

CAP in collaboration with the incubator schools and volunteer teachers will develop several multi-discipline lessons which must be fun and engaging for pupils, focusing on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and environmental stewardship.

One of the lessons will include the installation of monitors with PM2.5 monitors and possibly other sensors, which will be linked to websites such as AirGradient. These monitors will be installed at the incubator and beneficiary schools and form part of an ongoing project and will produce live data for the whole community, which can be easily accessed via the internet.

Pupils and teachers will be able to see how their air quality changes over hours, days, months, or other timeframes.

The vision is to develop these lesson plans with incubator schools to ensure that the lessons comply with national and other standards so that they may ultimately become part of their curricula.

Participating schools will display a flag each day that corresponds to local air quality conditions. The brightly coloured flags indicate how clean or polluted the air is at their school and in the surrounding area. The Air Quality Levels are shown in a colour-coded index that uses actual monitored air quality data to classify local air quality conditions. Real-time data is captured at monitoring sites in CAP’s Independent Air Quality Network monitors. When index values are green, the air quality is considered healthy and outdoor activities are encouraged. On the other hand, if the index values are orange, red or purple, the local air quality is not as healthy, especially for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, or those with respiratory illnesses or other medical conditions.

With each ZAR 100,000 raised CAP will be able to roll out the project to 5 schools. (1 incubator school and 4 beneficiary schools)

Some of the affected schools in the iLembe District

The data obtained from the school monitors will be added to the information gathered from the reference-equivalent monitors in the Independent Network and complaint/survey reports and used to motivate policy change.