The geography of energy and education: leaders, laggards, and lessons for achieving primary and secondary school electrification

Sovacool, Benjamin K and Ryan, Sarah E (2016) The geography of energy and education: leaders, laggards, and lessons for achieving primary and secondary school electrification. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 58. pp. 107-123. ISSN 1364-0321

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Even though large-scale electricity networks have existed for more than a century, thousands of primary and secondary schools have no electricity. More than 80 percent of children in Sub-Saharan Africa attend primary schools that lack electricity, more than a quarter of village schools in India lack electricity access, and fewer than half of Peruvian schools are electrified. Collectively, nearly 200 million children attend schools not connected to any type of electricity supply—a number greater than the populations of Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia or Japan. Throughout the globe, certain countries and regions lead the way in school electrification while others lag behind. Through the lens of energy and education geography, this Article identifies a series of interconnected challenges to electrifying schools. Obstacles span financing and technical reliability to bias in educational and energy funding to inability of electrification to yield net positive learning outcomes. Despite these challenges, solutions do exist, as the activities of emerging energy leaders demonstrate. High upfront costs can be mitigated by tapping into diverse financing streams and distributing risk through public private partnerships. Technical problems can be countered by stable policy frameworks with strong technical standards and certification schemes. Electrification efforts can be coupled with household and cooking programs that build community. This Article shows that schools can provide students with the light, heat, and modern tools of teaching they deserve if planners, investors, and policymakers make determined, coordinated efforts at providing energy for education.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Benjamin Sovacool
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2016 08:03
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2016 10:55
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