Our curriculum has failed to incorporate the three core aspects of initiatives, creativity, and flexibility. Children who’ve already dropped out of school or at risk of dropping out, points out that they’ve withdrawn from school mainly due to an unattractive curriculum and poor teaching.
The Green Energy Championship
In a background as such, it’s no surprise that secondary grade students are expected to study Science but exposed to little or no lab works. Science is a practical subject which is the foundation of a child’s life to foster innovation. By limiting its practical scope how can we possibly expect to reap results just like the rest of the world?
In September 2016, The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, GIZ, Janathakshan together with The Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy of Sri Lanka launched the Green Energy Championship project. This is an island wide competition for school students with the goal of promoting concepts that improve energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy substantially to serve day-to-day needs.
Empowering the Champions of Green Energy
Our country has excellent conditions for using solar energy, biomass, hydropower and wind energy. Improving the energy efficiency could certainly result a decrease in the rate of dependency on energy imports. It would also mean less carbon dioxide emissions.
With the Green Energy Championship, the competition expectss to establish a further blueprint green energy example in Sri Lanka. As a result, over 300 students in 9 provinces have been empowered to become ‘Champions of Green Energy’. Sri Lanka continue to push forward on the agenda to shift from fossils to renewable energies.
90 workshops, over 2700 students
After participating in the workshops, students are expected to conduct 10 workshops in their respective provinces. The goal is to spread awareness on energy sources while laying the knowledge gained through their interactive training sessions.
Overall, the programme will host 90 awareness workshops islandwide reaching approximately 2700 students or more. So far, several Training Of Trainers or TOT sessions have been held in selected schools of all nine provinces. This included 2 workshops per province and 50 trainers in each province. The belief is that introducing Green Energy technologies in an early stage of education would motivate students to engage in simple energy conserving practices individually.
Scope of the programme
At present, 60% of the energy requirements in the country are met with fossil fuels. This has a devastating impact on the economy of the country as well as the environment.
The project is a combination of focusing on improving energy efficiency and promoting use of renewable energy sources in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the initiative Green Energy Champion aims at encouraging the Sri Lankan students in sharing their creative ideas. The programme appreciates ideas that contributes towards saving energy/minimize energy waste such as the use of LED or CFL lights, application of the cycle-friendly village concept, etc. Setting up of processes that are powered by renewable gas such as solar powered street lamps, biogas from organic waste are also encouraged.
Sri Lanka’s first green energy champion
In July 2016, Dhammika Ovitigala of Ananda College was named Sri Lanka’s first green energy champion. The current developments at Ananda College in this regards were briefed in an interview. The school has installed two clubs, the Green Championship club and the UNESCO club. These clubs consist of nearly 500 member students from grades 6 – 12.
These clubs have a few areas they plan to address during the year 2018. Some of these are,
- Implementing polythene and plastic ban for the school
- Producing sustainable bags for students
- Implementing the container cultivation concept
- Incorporating more local food sources to the school canteen
Moreover, a photovoltaic unit was installed on the college premises that produces 24,000 kWh annually and covers the entire boarding school’s electricity requirements. A waste separation system has also been introduced that increases existing composting capacities.
Creating a platform for innovative renewable energy ideas
“This series of workshop created a platform for students and teachers to come together and work on topics like energy efficiency and waste management seriously and discuss practical measures that they can implement in their schools. Although school syllabus has incorporated theoretical aspects of energy efficiency, most of the students and teachers were unable to translate this into practical projects. We were glad to see them working together to convert these learnings to actual projects”, said Damitha Samarakoon, Deputy Director of Janathakshan.
Accordingly, one million households that can feed additional 1000 MegaWatt into the grid shall be equipped with solar panels by 2025. Financial incentives will be given to promote purchase and installation in private households. Additionally, a fee for feeding excess capacity into the public electricity network will also be granted.
Setting the bar high for the future
The Green Energy Championship project highlights that the bar is set high in the current government. This is to expand the use of renewable energy and to improve energy efficiency.
At present Sri Lanka have fully exploited its major energy source which is hydroenergy. The government is on a mission to find alternative approaches to this ongoing dilemma. This project could be cited as one of the few successful initiatives executed to raise the awareness of energy conservation and trigger people to come up with innovative renewable energy ideas for their communities.