Solar lamps give students glimpse of brighter future
MANILA, Philippines – The phrase “burning the midnight oil” is no longer true for the students in Misamis Oriental.
After the Department of Education (DepEd) gave solar-powered lamps to almost 400 homes, students can now extend their time spent studying.
The distribution of the lamps is part of DepEd’s “One Child, One Lamp” campaign and the LightEd PH Campaign. “One Child, One Lamp” hopes to raise funds for students in off-grid areas, while LightEd PH provides energy to schools.
DepEd hopes to address the health and educational concerns in places without access to electricity through these programs.
In school year 2013-2014, there were an estimated 1,101,051 students who live in homes without electricity. One of the lighting options available to them, kerosene lamps, are costly and have adverse health effects.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “breathing large quantities of kerosene vapor or drinking kerosene-based liquids may cause non-specific signs such as dizziness, headache and vomiting.”
“The health of these students is also at risk from using kerosene lamps that emit harmful fumes, which is the only means for them to study at night,” said DepEd Undersecretary for Partnership and External Linkages Mario Deriquito.
Electricity and access to technology are two important requirements for child-friendly schools. (READ: What do ICT stats say about the Philippines?)
Aside from a secure environment, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) specifically recommends locations with “access to energy for school electricity.” (READ: (UNICEF) Child-Friendly Schools Manual)
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), echoed UNICEF’s recommendation.
“Perhaps the simplest benefit from electrification is the provision of lighting which enables longer studying (or classroom hours) at schools,” according to UNDESA.
This is the effect DepEd hopes to achieve in areas like Misamis Oriental.
“Students in off-grid barangays have limited time to study at night. Providing them electricity or solar lamps will help them extend their study time, thus increasing the chance to improve their academic performance,” said Deriquito. (READ: State of PH education hinders bid for inclusive growth)
But beyond just helping kids do homework for longer, it gives them a glimmer of hope and encourages them to work harder.
Ramer Tangkal, also in sixth grade at Impadiding Elementary School, said it was not only his home that has become brighter.
He felt his future is more promising now: “Mas ma-inspire pa gayud ko karon sa pag-study kay hayag na ang palibot ug mas maningkamot pa gayud ko aron makatibawas sa pag-skwela aron pud makatabang ko sa ako pamilya."
(I'm even more inspired now to study because it is brighter and I will work harder to improve my schooling so that I can help my family.) – Rappler.com