Igniting young minds: Facilitating education through lighting

The lamp has enabled the children to put in extra hours of study
The children at the residential school study by the
light of the lamp
In many residential schools in rural India, education suffers due to poor access to electricity. The situation is particularly deplorable in the remote tribal hinterland, where students study in the light of dim kerosene lamps. This was apparent in residential schools in Koraput, Odisha. The LaBL initiative had carried out similar projects at two Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) in Podi Uproda village, Korba district, Chhattisgarh, and Killod, Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh. Solar charging stations were set up in these schools and benefitted the students immensely. They were able to use the time before dusk to pursue cultural activities, sports, and vocational activities.

Following the success of the two KGBVs, the same model was followed in Koraput where in partnership with UNEP, and local implementation support from the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), charging stations were set up in three schools. Thereafter, another project was initiated involving the setting up of solar charging stations at twenty tribal schools and hostels in the district, in partnership with ITDA and UNICEF.

The children being taught the operation of the lantern
The solar lantern being introduced to the children
For each of these projects, scoping studies were carried out. Information was collected on the number of students, current ways of addressing lighting needs, and expenditure on them. Based on this, need assessment and estimation of requirement at each school was done. While scoping these schools, first level sensitization of the students and school staff towards the need for better lighting solutions and basics of solar technology, was carried out to enable acceptance of the new technology among the users.

The solar charging stations at the school are operated by students
The schools have their own charging stations
which the students operate
While the hardware was being manufactured by the suppliers, regular sensitization of the user groups and identification of students and staff responsible for taking care of the charging stations, was carried out by the school staff, which was trained by TERI. At the time of installation, the suppliers imparted technical training to the identified responsible staff for upkeep and maintenance of the equipment. After installations, TERI staff imparted detailed usage-related training to the students. One Technological Resource Centre (TRC) was also set up in each of the three districts to ensure rectification of faults that may arise after the expiry of warranty period. Regular monitoring and evaluation of the functioning of the charging stations was carried out in the post-installation period.

Installation of solar charging stations in these twenty three schools has received enthusiastic response from students and staff alike. The initiative has also paved the way for overall development of the students at the school, which they consider to be their second home. Today, the students have benefitted from at least two more hours of study daily during the evenings. Apart from the health benefits, another advantage has been the advent of environmental awareness among the students, as well as opening up of newer avenues of interest related to technology and environment.

The lantern has increased the hours of study
Children doing their homework by the light of the lamp
In addition to this, the initiative has brought to the fore the fact that rural areas represent a significant market for renewable energy products simply because alternatives like firewood or kerosene are not only inefficient, but also more expensive in the long run.

There are several such residential schools across the country, run by the central and state governments that have not been able to meet their prime objective because of unavailability of proper lighting. TERI aims at extending LaBL to all such schools where education suffers for want of light.

Sponsor: UNEP, ITDA and UNICEF
Duration: 18 months
Key Stakeholder/Beneficiaries: 1,500 school children of Koraput, Odisha (beneficiaries); district administration, Koraput and block-level administration of Narayanpatna, Nandpur and Lakshmipur blocks; Integrated Tribal Development Agency, Koraput

To address the challenge of reliable and quality lighting for facilitating education in the remote and inaccessible areas.

  • Installation of solar charging stations in twenty three schools.
  • Enabling students to study longer.
  • Environmental awareness and health benefits for students.
  • Highlighted the fact that rural areas represent a significant market for renewable energy products.
  • New avenues of interest related to technology and environment amongst students.
  • Aligning the mandates of varied (governmental and non-governmental) agencies, in furthering the cause of universal education.
  • Contributing to the second Millennium development Goal of âAchieving Universal Primary Educationâ.
The children now are able to engage in other activity
For the school children, the lantern has been a boon
Posted on: 28 December 2011  |   Project status: Completed