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With a belief that “Learning is the Power of Change and Development”, Banpu NEXT, a leading smart energy solutions provider in Asia-Pacific, is making continuous progress in its “Light & Learn” project by bringing solar power systems to electricity-deprived schools in remote areas to help light up learning opportunity and benefit the children in five area: learning, teaching, quality of life, mental well-being, and the environment. Most recently, the company took its employees on a field visit to join forces with highland teaching volunteers on the solar power system and storage battery installation for Ban Po Por Kee HACLC in Tak Province and hold edutainment activities for the children, which creatively taught them to appreciate nature and clean energy. Over the past five years, it has already installed solar power systems for 73 schools in Tak, Mae Hong Son, and Kanchanaburi Provinces with a combined capacity of more than 73,000 watts and more than 2,400 beneficiary children.
Mr. Sinon Vongkusolkit, Chief Executive Officer of Banpu NEXT Co., Ltd., said, “During five years of Banpu NEXT’s Light & Learn project implementation, we installed solar power systems for a growing number of electricity-deprived schools in remote areas because we believe that light is empowerment for education. It brings sustainable benefits to Thai children and teachers in various aspects: 1) in terms of learning, it broadens the kids’ experiences for Thai language skills development and creativity; 2) in teaching, it enables the teachers to utilize a greater variety of learning media and keep abreast of the modern world; 3) on quality of living, it allows a more convenient life; 4) on the environmental front, using electricity from a clean energy source and playing their part in system maintenance will build the kids’ awareness of clean energy; and 5) mental well-being improves as it brings joy to children, giving them smiles and dreams to pursue as they learn from various learning media.”
To neutralize distance and deprivation that used to be learning barriers of the children, Banpu NEXT is making a change and helping them upgrade their learning. The company has already introduced solar power systems to 73 electricity-deprived schools in remote areas with more than 73,000 watts of installed capacity all combined, which benefits over 2,400 children altogether. The company also provided satellite dishes and TV sets to enable their access to distance learning media, plus many other learning materials and necessities. Of these, Banpu NEXT installed solar power systems complete with storage batteries for 37 Mae Fah Luang HACLCs in 2017 and 2018; 15 schools within the precinct of Mobile Development Unit 36 under the 3rd Regional Development Office, Armed Forces Development Command in Mae Hong Son in 2019; and 15 schools in Kanchanaburi in 2021. Most recently, it continued with the installation for five schools in Tak Province’s Tha Song Yang District and also took its employees there to, together with highland teaching volunteers, hold nature and solar energy learning activities for children of Ban Po Por Kee HACLC. Other activities include home-grown vegetable planting, educational solar power storytelling, charity lunch, and gift giveaway to the children.
Mr. Uthairath Sangprachan, Director of Tha Song Yang District Office of the Non-Formal and Informal Education (NFE), commented, “Ban Po Por Kee HACLC is located in a backcountry area. The kids who come to class here are from a Thai highlander community. They normally use their own dialect and cannot speak Thai, resulting in difficulty both in general communication and education. We appreciate the support of Banpu NEXT for lighting up this learning center with solar power and provision of TV sets and learning media. They will build an infinite learning opportunity, giving our kids more fun learning from quality audiovisual media that will help them practice speaking Thai with faster results. People in the community can also come here to watch news and entertainment. I believe that the ‘light’ and these media will give the children and the community a better quality of life.”
Mr. Thanawit Wiengkawee, a grade-6 student at Ban Po Por Kee HACLC, shared his joy that the learning center would have the power supply for learning and other activities, “I will be able to watch news and movies. I will be able to sing and fully practice my Thai language. Moreover, people from Banpu NEXT also taught us how to use and take care of solar power systems to ensure that we will have electric power to use for a long, long time.”
“There are still so many schools out there in remote areas that have no access to electricity. Therefore, Banpu NEXT will keep this project running because electricity is a basic need for education and a decent quality of life. We hope to help the children grow into competent adults and use their knowledge for future development of themselves, their communities, and the nation,” Mr. Sinon concluded.