Solar lighting improves teaching and learning conditions in Burkina Faso

Photo credit: Dramane Sessouma

At the bilingual school in Lué, in the commune of Cassou, solar lighting is a real boon. It has changed teaching and learning conditions. Teachers, pupils and students have abandoned battery or paraffin lamps for solar energy thanks to the project "Enlightened School, Resource Centre for Quality Education" (EECREQ).

The Mooré-French bilingual school in Lué has 257 pupils, 124 of whom are girls and 133 boys, divided into 5 classes. In January 2021, it benefited from solar lighting thanks to the EECREQ project, as did 19 other schools in the commune of Cassou in the Centre West region of Burkina Faso. A visit to the school from 8 p.m. onwards gives an insight into the new night-time atmosphere since the solar lighting was put into service. " Students not far from the school come to study and prepare their homework at nightexplains Désiré BASSANE, teacher of the fifth grade class. Those who are far from school are divided into 9 groups according to their location. Each group has been given a chargeable solar lamp. At night, they meet to learn their lessons and do their homework. Priority is given to pupils in the fifth grade (exam class). "

A collective night's work that allows mutual aid

Namata Djanda and Safoura DJANDA are two sisters in fifth grade. Before the solar lighting of their school, they used to work at home in the evening with a battery lamp given by their mother. They abandoned this lamp to join their classmates at school. For Safoura, solar lighting is better. " At school, I work with my friends. We help each other "says the little girl.

Oumou Koulssoum KABRE also lives a short distance from the school. She prefers to join her classmates at school to do homework in groups. With the ambition of becoming a teacher, she finds that solar lighting offers better conditions for learning lessons. 

In the village, Salif BALIMA and Moussa PAFADNAM are in the same working group that received a chargeable solar lamp. " At night, we meet around the lamp and learn the same subjects together: history and geography, arithmetic, grammar, conjugation and vocabulary. We take turns asking each other questions "says Salif.

Extended beneficiaries up to secondary school level

Former pupils admitted to the college also benefit from the lighting of the schools. Firmin OUEDRAOGO is in the sixth grade at the college. He takes advantage of the lighting in his former school to prepare his homework. At the Tambao school, beneficiary of the EECREQ project, the pupils of the Nevry secondary school also benefit from solar lighting. At the school in Lué, the pupils of the secondary school wanted additional light bulbs outside the classrooms so as not to disturb their younger brothers. 

Solar lighting of schools does not only benefit the pupils. Teachers and especially those who are housed at the school benefit. "We do the preparations at school thanks to the light. We start as soon as classes end, which saves us time. We also use it to prepare for professional competitions. We also charge our mobile phones," says Désiré BASSANE.

An impact on the motivation of all

Even if we cannot speak of an impact on the quality of education for the moment, the solar lighting of schools has created motivation for both teachers and pupils. The fact that classmates can work together is a source of motivation. The teachers housed in the schools accompany pupils who have difficulties almost every day. Previously, support classes were only held on Saturday and Wednesday afternoons. " We have favourable indications, especially in reading. There is an improvement in this area. Pupils also do their homework. This means that they are practising in groups and this will ultimately benefit everyone. We are waiting for the next evaluations to better appreciate the impact of solar lighting on the pupils' results. "concluded Désiré BASSANE.

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