KARACHI: In order to solve the issues of load-shedding and absence of power supply at many schools, which has adversely affected the performance of teachers and students, the education department has finalised arrangements to install solar panels at around 4,000 government schools in the province.
In this regard, the provincial government will be awarding tenders soon. Officials of the education department said that around Rs15 million has been allocated for each district in the province and private companies will be hired to install the solar panels at schools. “In total, Rs390 million has been allocated for the project, while the cost of supplying solar power to one room of a school is around Rs16,000 to Rs18,000,” sources claimed.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Education Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar said the task of installing solar panels at the government schools was earlier given to the district administrations but local officials posed hurdles in the project.
“Now, the project will run under our supervision. The officials have conducted a survey of the schools and we are now verifying the facts and figures to avoid loopholes in the project,” the education minister said, adding that he will submit a report to the chief minister about the project before awarding tenders.
Dahar said the scheme was initiated because there is no electricity in many government schools and students have to study in scorching weather. “The government has cleared the dues of power utility companies but eight-to-10-hour-long load-shedding is a routine,” he said.
Replying to a query about the quality of education in the government schools, the education minister said, “The quality has improved and I can share the data of private schools’ children who have not got admissions to the government schools”. Dahar added that the government has appointed the teachers and headmasters purely on merit through tests conducted by the National Testing Service and Institute of Business Administration.
Solar panels at hospitals
In the meantime, Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro announced on Monday that the government is contemplating installing solar panels at government hospitals.
“We will start with the district hospital in Badin where a foreign company has been asked to submit an assessment report of the project,” Dr Mandhro said, adding that it was essential for hospitals for have electricity round-the-clock.
“If the project is proved successful in Badin, we will replicate it in all the public hospitals in Sindh,” the health minister said. He criticised the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company and other power companies in Sindh for their failure to ensure uninterrupted power supply.