Education institutions mull over the shift from charcoal and wood 

What you need to know:

  • In addition to lack of funds in schools and colleges, there is also a minimal range of options for renewable energy in the country

Dar es Salaam. Heads of public and private educational institutions claim that shifting to renewable energy from charcoal and wood in accordance with the government directive is difficult because of the costs involved.

In addition to lack of funds in schools and colleges, there is also a minimal range of options for renewable energy in the country.

Late last year the minister of State in the President’s Office (Union and Environment), Selemani Jafo, directed all secondary schools to abstain from using wood and charcoal as cooking fuel, and instead focus on the use of renewable energy.

Mr Jafo said the use of wood and charcoal by educational institutions is one of the primary causes of deforestation, which calls for the need to find alternative cooking fuel to save the country from turning into a desert.

He also urged organisations and institutions such as the National Mining Corporation (Stamico) as well as private producers to increase production of alternative charcoal and other alternative energy products in order to reduce the consumption of wood and charcoal.

And as part of the implementation of Mr Jafo’s directive, the ministry of Education, Science and Technology on Thursday conducted training on sustainable environmental care and integration for principals from 35 public teachers’ colleges.

The training was organized under the auspices of the Teacher Education Support Project (TESP).

During the training, Prof James Mdoe, the deputy permanent secretary at the ministry, instructed the principals to prepare a strategy to ensure that they abstain from using wood and charcoal as an alternative energy.

However, one of the principals who spoke to The Citizen yesterday, on condition of anonymity, said the renewable energy directive was hard to implement because of the high costs involved.

“We have been given training and directed to implement the directive. But where do we get the money to purchase alternative charcoal? And where do we find the charcoal? I do not see how this can work without the government, itself, allocating the money,” he said.

For his part, Dr Geofrey Alfred from the University of Dodoma advised the government to facilitate more investments in the renewable energy sector to make it more affordable.

There are already various investment proposals and strategies that exist on renewable energy in Tanzania but the challenge remained to be lack of funds to implement the projects, he noted, adding that the University of Dodoma already has a solar power project in place.

Prof Mdoe said that it was true that the venture is very expensive but it remained necessary to get out of the use of charcoal and wood.