Sustainable Energy Education in Rural, Urban and Developing High Schools

 Thomas Farrior

With each passing day, there is a critical need for the world to switch to other forms of cleaner energy. As such, it is essential for the current generation to be equipped with adequate knowledge on matters related to sustainable energy sources. Additionally, the present youth are the leaders of tomorrow.

In most cases, students start learning about matters related to sustainable energy development in high school. Educational sites such as El Rincón del Vago are also joining in by offering engineering lessons. This, of course, has several advantages. First, it will boost the number of students who will opt to pursue engineering to help solve global energy challenges. Secondly, it will make the students mindful of the issue.

Recent studies carried out on sustainable energy education in secondary schools show that there are significant variations in the curriculum.

Most developing nations and towns have no access to modern technologies in the energy industry. On the other hand, developed countries are still lagging behind in the implementation of not only sustainable but also clean energy.

Awareness and Motivation to Find Solutions on Sustainable Energy

Statistics show that close to twenty-five percent of the global population has no access to electricity. The astonishing fact is that these numbers have been the same since the 70s. This situation brings forth a two-pronged challenge whereby the world has to work to shift towards clean and viable energy solutions while at the same time working towards ensuring it meets energy needs.

The research also leads to questions about to what extent is knowledge about energy sustainability being imparted in high schools. It is important that students learn how to apply information on how to address issues such as energy shortages and climate change.

Combining Engineering Lessons with Real-World Energy Projects

Education experts argue that teaching students about the environment and energy sustainability is by itself not enough. They continue to add that this will only make them armchair critics rather than cause them to step up to the plate and make things happen.

Offering action-oriented teaching is considered the best option because it will make the students get their hands dirty as they develop a prototype or solution to a problem. Take, for instance, a group of students in the US state of Illinois. They came together and assembled 1 kW photovoltaic solar system. This system did not only cut down expenditures on energy, but it also helped the students upgrade their places of learning.

The World Energy Project, an NGO focusing on delivering sustainable energy solutions to developing schools, says that once offered this opportunity, the learning institutions can cut their dependence on power from unstable power grids. This gives students a chance to have a taste of real-life sustainable energy solutions.

Indulging students through adding engineering design methods into project development does boost understanding and interest among them. The step by step and descriptive approach to curriculum development offer tools for educators to approach the onerous tasks of infusing engineering design process principles into a secondary school lesson.

Particular research sheds light on three elements that are efficient when it comes to boosting studying outcomes in engineering at the high school level. These include the aforementioned project-based studying, hands-on experience in an engineering environment and combining design with contemporary science and math.

Problem and Solution-Based Learning

Under a High School Enterprise (HSE) programme, a study was conducted on different schools that had sustainable energy education curriculum. The learning institutions included urban schools, rural schools and schools with students from localities where engineering is underappreciated. The findings from the study showed that students under the High School Enterprise programme showed more interest in engineering subjects and the process of designing such projects.

Students getting their hands dirty in designing and implementing engineering projects do have a tremendous positive impact. Also, implementation of the prototypes of solutions for sustainable energy makes the community appreciate it even more and understand its value.

In a nutshell, project-based teaching at the pre-college level does help students get a better grip on the subject at a college and university level. It also motivates students to pursue engineering courses with the rest becoming more conscious of the issues.

Domain: Energy
Category: Environmental

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