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Life Without Electricity: Importance of Electricity in Secondary Schools

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This study is about the importance of electricity in schools and how this leads to improved academic performance of the schools. The education sector in any nation is an important sector to growth in any economy and it must be treated with priority. Today the education sector in Uganda is faced with the challenge of electrification especially in the rural areas.

According to UNDESA (2004), the report points out that there is a lot of concetration on schooling and very little attention to access of energy and yet education is also widely recognized as one of the most essential components for poverty reduction. Lack of electricity at primary and secondary schools therefore creates many bottlenecks towards escaping poverty and correlates with many other factors that contribute directly towards it.

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According to UNDESA (2004) 90% of schools in Uganda do not have electricity and also in Uganda it is a common practice for learners to study in bed while using a candle on the side of their bed. The emission from this candle could to other respiratory diseases and in most case these children usually doze off leaving the burning candle on, and this has to thousands of deaths and also sometimes lifelong injuries on their bodies. Some schools in the rural areas that don’t have access to electricity are therefore they are not able to provide quality education to their students.

Background of the Problem

Despite the fact that large scale electricity connections have been in existence for at least more than a century, some primary and secondary schools still have no electricity whatsoever (UNDESA, 2014) The global electricity acces deficit amounts to 1.2 billion people. About 85% of those live without electricity live in rural areas. 87% are geographically cons=citrated in sub Saharan Africa and south Asia. 

In Uganda only 1.4% of the electricity produced is consumed. Electricity enables us to use modern mass media tools in the classroom such as the internet, radio, television and even projectors which make the teaching and learning process easy and exciting especially for the learners other benefits of electrification include lighting which can enable classes to be taught early in the morning or late in the night especially in boarding school.

In Nepal, rural electrification of migration has increased the student in take drastically and besides quite a number of parents have been convinced to keep their children in the village schools instead of sending them to schools in the urban areas. In Tanzania the introduction of solar electricity in schools led to an increase in the completion rates at both primary and secondary schools from less the 50% to close to 100%.

Studies in Kenya schools have revealed that schools that have electricity have better staff retention and also tend to perform better than schools that do not have electricity. According to UNDESA (2004) primary and secondary schools are in position to provide their learners with school necessities such as light, heat, comfort and the latest tools of teaching that they both need and deserve if planners, investors and policy makers are determined to coordinate and make efforts geared to making sure that school have electricity.

Children are seen collecting together in public areas that have lights in order to study and also try and finish their homework because they do not have electricity both at home and also at school. The report asses the education benefits of electrification of secondary schools which include lighting of classrooms and easy access to information and communication facilities, improvement of staff rentetion and and also student and staff completion.

When a school lacks electricity, this can be rather unfortunate because it misses out on quite a number of services that electricity can provide in the class. These include lighting for both early and late classes, television projectors etc. Schools without electricity tend to perform more poorly than their electrified counter parts. Electrification of schools also has co-benefits such as improved sanitation in the form of clean cooking methods, and also health benefits whereby there are less emission in the air as a result of unclean cooking methods

According to Jackoski (2013), for quite a number of learners and teachers across the African continent , lack of electricity is a problem faced everyday both at home and also in schools. 90 million children in the most parts of African go to schools that lack electricity. Lessons are taught without facilities like projectors that make the learning and teaching process easy, without fans and air conditioning that make the learners comfortable in class. Some schools cannot be able to use computers or even access to the internet because they lack electricity.

Limited access to electricity in Africa also greatly reduces the teaching aids and also the classroom learning materials. This tends to compromise the quality of the teaching and learning process.

Limited access to energy has real set backs to education attainment across the African continent to an extent that only half of the primary schools south eastern state in Hasheen a small eastern state in South Sudan were able to obtain passing grades in their exams in 2007. That number only went up to 100%, after the Sudan multi-donor funding project provided solar electricity to the original areas. If only more schools in Africa and also Uganda were to be provided with electricity this kind or performance and even more could be achieved.

According to Valeria (2014) where as energy poverty is becoming more significant as a key partner in the development of any economy, there still exists a big gap in addressing the usually over looked but never the less serious problem, which is the lack of electricity especially in rural areas.

The UN found out that around 1.4 million people have limited access to electricity. A one Meralco foundation the social responsibility arm of Meralco and Philippines biggest power distributor, increased its community electrification activities by 130 percent from 10.8 million to 24.8 million and energized 3079 households in 24 government schools located in remote areas.

The president of the organization came up with one question. “Where is electricity really needed?” The answer was schools. Studies have shown that there were more than 7000 schools, with limited access to electricity. In a town crippled by lack of textbooks and with classrooms in a bad state, the lack of electricity in a school may not seem to be the most urgent need but thinking about the lack electricity this is likely to be rather short sighted.

The revelation of a Philippine ISQ Verde project, an electricity project in schools that saw absentees go down, because students got more excited to go to school and also the teachers were able to deliver more subject content in the classroom. Tarayo the president of the project said that it was not about donating electricity systems but it was about donating opportunities so that the students can become even more productive citizens of their countries. It is against this background that the researcher seeks to examine the role of electricity in rural secondary schools and how this impacts on the academic performance of these schools

Literature

This part of the study includes articles and models that support the study. In the study entitled Electrical power outages and the teaching and learning process in technical training institutions in river state university, a study carried out by George. I. Ken Akaninwor. This study was carried out in Nigeria. This study says that electricity has the key to almost all operations in industries globally. This study was carried out mainly to find out the effects of electricity failure on the process of both teaching and learning in technical training institutions. The study was carried out in mainly two institutions in the Port Harcourt city which is a public technical college and also in a government crafts development center. The population which was targeted comprised of 17 instructors and 65 final year learners who belonged to the departments of technology. This study used Structured questionnaires. This study found out that the technological instructions were in bad shape and this was because of power failure. This study came up with a conclusion that learners need to be provided with a conducive environment which should include a supply of electricity so that they can be able to come up with skills which are key for their specialization. The gap that I identified in this study was that this study was biased about only one sector of the education sector which is the technical colleges.

Bryant (13th December 2004), gives an explanation of the methodological approach to students retention as one with a broad base. His focus on individual characteristics before they go to the university and the impact of external factors that usually interfere with the learners academic performance. The study was based on Trintos theory of students retention which states that a learner who does not obtain a level of academic and social integration is highly likely to drop out of school.

Another common belief of this theory is that the support a learner gets from other students ,academic performance, the learnrs level of satisfaction with the school and the level of obligation fuffilment of both the learner and the school could contribute towards play a role in student retention. Unfortunately, in most cases people in the academia and also those in the non academia tend to say that the reason as to why most student fail in their studies is because they are not serious with their studies, without even considering that ther could other factor at play. The question remains as to whether institutions understand the nature of the problem According to Mc Daniel and Graham (2001), points out the fact that there is lack of a general retention model makes institution to come up with their own models. Another proposed theory, is the non- traditional students theory which tries to provide a holistic comprehesion of how academic and social factors can lead to poor performance in academics and eventually poor retention.

In another study entitled Justice and politics in energy access for education and health, in India, it was stated that the development of energy benefits education, livelihoods and health. The study revealed that energy access leads to long working hours, improves education and increase the quality of human life.. The study also says that there is a positive correlation between electricity and education. Modern lighting leads to conducive studying by limiting indoor pollution and diseaese caused by kerosene lamps. Modern energy saves time spent on fuel collection there by freeing time to study and enabling people especially especially for the female students who have to work during the day and go to class in the evening. There modern energy leads to increased levels of education and gender equality. The positive impact of education has long term effects on peoples lives and poverty reduction. The study was caried in the villages in India –Bihar state. A multi-method approach was used involving 10 groups discussion groups and 24 elite interviews. participant observations data were recorded in 580 diaries. The study found out that in shahariya Bujuriya and Hardrya, many families rented solar latent to enable children study in the evenings instead of using a kerosene lamp. The electric light is viewed as healthier and safer compared to kerosene lamps. This move also reduces accidents from kerosene lamps, where by children can fall on the lamp while reading if they are not being supervised by an elder. The study found out that the education level in the rural school and public schools was dismal. Without quality primary and secondary education, access to higher education institution was very difficult.

In the study teacher retention, theory evidence and suggested options in Indiana university, teachers have been researched about for quite a number of years as part of the on goimg national debate on the quality and relevance of schools in America. The study says that in order to understand properly teacher retention and to define policies in better way which could help save teacher retention there is need to examine a number of key factors which affect teacher retention. Low wages as well as bad conditions of working may lead to higher attrition and this may result into a need to correct policy in these. 

Teacher attrition was exposed based on the human-capital theory of occupational choice. The human capital theory states that individuals make systematics valuations of the benefits they get both in terms of money and also benefits which are not in money terms, from different jobs and hence make systematic choices as to whether they deem it worth it, to enter, stay or leave a job. The non monetary benefts usually include working conditions, support of collegues and administrators, availability of adequate materials among others. the gap which was found in this study is that although the theory of human capital gives one elucidation for the big variance between early and mid-career attrition, there is an alternative, although not necessarily competing explanation. A major the restriction of the human capital theory is that it adopts that an individual has got full information about wages, benefits and the non-monetary aspects of the occupation. In real terms the entire process of getting and accepting a job is carried out in an environment of ambiguity. A survey was carried out consisting of data from 50,000 fulltime teachers in Indiana government schools in 1965 to 1987, and also 1600 new hirers. The data was setup on longitudinal records. Survival analysis methods were employed in order to manage censored data. The study used two methods to study when attrition occurs. The study revealed that working conditions in districts determined by the salary coefficient is biased downwards. The study recommended that recruitment and retention policies that might be helpful for wage and non wage initiatives which could include helping teachers get teaching competencies are key and are necessary.

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