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The Role Of Solar Power in Education

By: Ananda Abiad

Artist: Sofia Alekzi Villanueva (Zia)

In this issue of the “Power Of A Solar Light”, we discuss the role of solar electricity in education; questioning its importance in determining future opportunity compared to that of kerosene and gas lamps

Why do students need solar lights to study over regular lights?

Around 16 million people, including 6000 schools, are off-grid and lack access to electricity. Solar panels and lamps are one option that can provide these students with greater and safer access to light and electricity.

Kerosene lanterns and open-flame candles are the typical light sources used by off-grid individuals. However, these sources pose as health hazards, as they produce smoke, adversely affecting lung health, and only weakly light the environment, damaging students’ eyesights. Their open flames also pose as fire hazards, further putting lives and property at risk.

 How does adequate lighting translate into students' lives later on?

Students in rural areas also typically wake up and get home later: during an OML distribution trip to Rizal, we discovered that the local school started at 7AM, meaning that the community’s students would wake up as early as 5AM. Solar lights would not just allow students more time to study, but also ensure greater safety as they make their commutes.

Educational outcomes are one of the biggest determinants on future incomes: providing students with more opportunities to study and go to school will increase students’ time to study, improve school performance, and reduce dropout rates dur to poor educational outcomes.

Solar lamps are also, in the long run, cheaper than kerosene lights, thus saving these families money in fuel expenses.

What is the impact on productivity when given access to solar electricity?

Access to a safe and reliable lighting source increases the amount of hours that students have to complete their schoolwork. A study published in the Energy for Sustainable Development Journal found that the use of solar lamps increased students’ total study time per day. 

Solar lights, which are brighter than typical lamps, also allow for multiple students to use one light and study collaboratively.

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