Saudi Arabia and UK fund solar power panels for primary schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has announced an agreement to provide solar panels for schools in Pakistan’s northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The agreement to provide energy for primary schools in KP’s southern districts was signed in Islamabad with the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
Over the next two years, UNOPS will implement the project on behalf of the government of KP with £6.5 million ($9 million) of funding jointly committed by DFID and SFD.
The grant will cover some 2000 government schools in seven districts of KP including Bannu, D.I. Khan, Karak, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, Tank and Hangu. Out of these, more than 700 schools are girls’ schools with more than 81,000 girls already enrolled.
The Saudi ambassador to Pakistan, Nawaf Saeed Ahmad Al-Maliki, said at the signing ceremony that he is looking forward to working closely with Pakistan and investing in the country.
In his address, SFD head Yousef Ibrahim Al-Bassam said the project will be a turning point in the implementation of large-scale renewable energy projects.
“It will empower the students, provide them with opportunities and lead the province to economic and social development,” he added.
Speaking at the event, KP education Minister Atif Khan said:
“Education is one of the top priorities of the KP government and we’re committed to providing quality education in every single district of the province. Lack of facilities in schools directly affects children’s education and I’m grateful for DFID and the Saudi Fund for Development for investing in the children of KP.”
Addressing the signing ceremony, DFID Head Joanna Reid commended KP government’s efforts to provide electricity in all its schools and for making major strides in providing missing facilities.
“We know that Pakistan has an education emergency. The UK is committed to helping the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to tackle that emergency in their province. I am confident that the provision of electricity in the schools of the southern districts of KP will eventually get more boys and girls to go to school and get the quality of education they deserve” Reid added.
Lack of basic facilities in government schools in Pakistan is one of the main reasons for low enrolment and high dropout rates. The problem can be particularly acute in remote areas.
With the DFID and SFD funding the provision of solar panels in these schools, KP’s government can focus its funding on other facilities, the British High Commission said.