By Philemon Jambaya
Zimbabwe’s Gutu South Member of Parliament Pupurai Togarepi recently called for government to embrace the use of solar energy within the education sector saying it will improve the pass rate among rural communities.
In an exclusive interview with this publication, Togarepi said Zimbabwe was endowed with good climatic conditions that could benefit all its people.
“We have a good climate here, and we should use it wisely and benefit our people. With solar energy,rural schools can stay open longer, children can (also) do their studies at night. This will help give children an even better education, potentially transforming their future,” Togarepi said.
He said if rural schools adopt the use of solar energy, this would help retain experienced teachers in remote communal areas.
“The retention of experienced teachers will also improve quality of education as generally, teachers shun rural schools because of lack of electricity,” Togarepi added.
The use of solar energy is increasingly becoming popular with global financiers, given its friendliness to the environment compared to thermal energy.
While duty has been waived on solar panels, lamps, inverters and lanterns, government still requires 15% Value Added Tax plus customs duty on batteries and other solar components.
Gender expert, Doreen Makamure, who is the Programmes Manager with Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre and Network, said if the government adopted the use of renewable energy, especially solar, that young girls in remote rural areas would immensely benefit.
“This will improve literacy and school attendance and make it easier to do school-related research, which will increase pass rates. ”
“Using solar energy frees up time for young girls to focus on productive things, which in turn can generate income or make them focus more on academics,” Makamure said.