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State gives REA Sh12.6bn for school electrification project

By Correspondent
The Government has provided a total of Sh12.6 billion towards electrification of 6,000 primary schools during the 2014/15 financial year, the Chairman, Board of Directors, Rural Electrification Authority, Simon Gicharu has said.

 Gicharu said this move will ensure all the 21,222 primary schools are electrified. He said by last June 10,157 primary schools had been supplied leaving 11,065 schools without electricity. He said power connection would be done through grid extension and solar installation. He added that 0ut 0f the 6,000 schools, 4,500 will be connected through grid extension and 1,500 on solar installation.
 Gicharu said REA was committed in ensuring that all schools in the country had electricity in readiness for the implementation of the laptop programme. He called for the creation of a special purpose rural electrification agency to enhance provision electricity in the rural areas.
 The chairman said REA was established in 2006 under the energy act No. 12 of 2006 with its core mandate being to enhance electricity supply in the rural areas through both grid extension and also through promotion of renewable energy.
 Speaking during the recent Kenya Primary School Heads Association (KEPSHA), Gicharu said REA attended the teachers’ forum as a stakeholder in education system in the country.
 He said that electricity is an important input for national development and it was unfortunate that many part of the country were yet to get electricity on commercial basis. He said REA and KPLC were working hand in hand to address this challenge.
He since 1973 to 2013/14 financial year the government has spent a total of Sh 68 billion in financing rural electrification in the country. He said 81% of this money was from internal sources mainly the government and 19% from the development partners. 
He said REA planned through Grid Extension to construct power line, installation of a transformer, Installation of service cable, and Wiring of at least a classroom preferably standard one class.
The authority will also install solar panels, batteries, inverters, wiring of at least a classroom preferably standard one class.  “Therefore a school will be deemed as electrified once all the above have been completed and power can actually be utilized in the school,” said Gicharu.
He said after all public primary schools are electrified, REA will focus on other remaining public facilities and domestic consumers.
Gicharu who is also MKU Board of Trustee Chairman said provision of electricity to primary schools in rural areas  results in benefits that include;  Enjoying ICT resources that have been lacking  compared to urban schools; Improvement of education standards as students have  extended reading hours and access to information  through the internet and TVs, Rural schools will become competitive thus attracting  qualified teachers Improved security from installed security lights,
 He said the main challenges that REA faced were way leaves acquisition, Vandalism and Low customer connectivity.  “REA requests the schools heads to assist in addressing the above challenges,” said Gicharu. He thanked the government for its overwhelming support in its endeavor to light up rural Kenya. He reiterated REA commitment to connect all the primary schools in the country by April 2015 in readiness for the laptop project.

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