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The effectiveness of installing solar panels at schools in Pakistan to increase enrolment

Abstract

At present, 35% of all primary schools and 15% of all secondary schools in Pakistan do not have access to electricity, severely impacting student participation and performance. Earlier literature exploring the effects of electrification of schools through solar electricity on educational access and outcome has been very limited, but recently it has gained attention. By examining data of more than 20,000 schools across 176 districts of Pakistan from the years 2013 until 2018, this paper quantifies the effectiveness of installing solar panels at schools to generate electricity, and thus increasing student participation through higher enrolment. The results show that a school where a solar panel was installed as an education policy initiative witnessed an increase in enrolment, when compared to a school that did not have a solar panel installed under the education policy initiative. This research highlights an immediate need of electrification of schools in order to improve learning outcomes. It also quantifies the effects of using solar electricity at schools that otherwise may not have access to electricity via the conventional grid system. Finally, as Pakistan ranks second in the list of countries with the worst pollution in the world, this study provides evidence for policymakers, and urges them to focus on expanding the use of renewable energy resources in all fields of socioeconomic activity in order to reverse the detrimental effects of climate change.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. The constitution of Pakistan gives an obligation of conducting a census every 10 years. However, the census of 2008 in Pakistan, which was to be conducted after 10 years of the census conducted in 1998, was postponed by 9 years and finally completed in 2017 (Jamal, 2018). Up until then, ASER, along with all other surveys conducted in Pakistan, collected the sample size of its observations based on the demographics of Pakistan presented in the 1998 census. As the data is from 2013 until 2018, which is before the official census of 2017 was released, sampling techniques and observations selected are from the directory of the 1998 Population Census of Pakistan, the latest census at the time when the data for this study was collected.

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Correspondence to Abbas A. Gillani.

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Gillani, A.A., Khan, S., Nasir, S. et al. The effectiveness of installing solar panels at schools in Pakistan to increase enrolment. J Environ Stud Sci (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-022-00747-z

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Keywords

  • Education policy
  • Solar panels
  • Education
  • Enrolment
  • Pakistan