Islamabad, 20 September 2023: Pakistan-German Renewable Energy Forum (PGREF) and Benchmark School, in collaboration with the Goethe Institute, organised an event for the inauguration of Benchmark School as a new Solar School.
The event marked the official launch of the project at the school and its integration into the “Solar Schools” network, highlighting the successful installation of a solar system for teaching purposes and the importance of renewable energy and climate change for the youth of Pakistan. It brought together the school management, esteemed dignitaries from both Pakistan and Germany, students, teachers, organizations, and companies from both the public and private sectors that are active in the renewable energy sector for a day filled with celebration and learning.
According to Ms. Kulsoom Tanvir, Principal of Benchmark Schools, “We are very proud of being the first solar School Project in Pakistan. The idea behind this project is to engage the youth of Pakistan in the areas of climate change and renewable energy resources. We appreciate all our students, teachers and project partners and hope to continue and build upon such projects in the future.”
The Solar Schools project aims to spark the enthusiasm of the young generation for renewable energy sources, particularly in countries in which the awareness of renewables is still low. As a part of the project, local installers place a solar system specially designed for teaching purposes, which is then integrated into school lessons. The Solar Schools are also provided with so-called solar suitcases, which are used to integrate the topic of solar energy into physics lessons in a practical way with interactive experiments. The project started in 2021, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. Before Benchmark School, 4 schools joined the project and network, in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Karshi (Uzbekistan), Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Astana (Kazakhstan).
The event began with a warm welcome provided by the students, teachers and management of the Benchmark School to the guests. The students had prepared projects emphasizing renewable energy technologies in rural and urban settings, along with Pakistani and German stalls highlighting different cultural products and food.
Ms. Kulsoom Tanvir, the Principal of Benchmark Schools then provided a guided tour of the solar system installed at the roof. The event comprised a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the chief guest, Mr. Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director alongside the solar panel system. Mr. Julian Scheider, the Project Manager then provided an overview of the system and said, “This project is not only about covering the electricity generation for the school but also about integrating renewable energy into the curriculum of the school in a tangible and interactive way.”
Later, Benchmark School students took centre stage with an engaging and informative performance including songs and dances and speeches in German, English and Urdu. The presentations further showcased the time and effort put in by the students, as well as the talent and skills of the young generation. The students also got a chance to interact with the dignitaries through a panel discussion on the subject.
Mr. Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director PPIB, who also was the chief guest at this occasion remarked, “It is indeed a pleasure for me to be here. I congratulate the teacher and students for these wonderful performances. I commend the German-Pakistan ongoing partnership, as well as Benchmark School which has been a partner in this first initiative in Pakistan.”
Ms. Amanda from the British Council noted, “I congratulate Benchmark School for being the first Solar School in Pakistan. We emphasize and encourage such initiatives and continue to work directly with individuals to help you gain the skills, competence and connections to transform their lives and shape a better future.”
Ms. Maha from the Goethe Institute, a key project partner noted, “This event highlights the joint efforts of all our project partners, and I would like to congratulate everybody on an outstanding performance. We, at Goethe Institute, work closely to promote such cooperation between Germany and Pakistan.”
The event concluded with a closing ceremony that acknowledged the efforts of all participants including the students, teacher, guests, and project partners. The students received certificates to applaud their participation in the event, while the guests and project partners received local souvenirs prepared by the students.
Benchmark School extended its heartfelt gratitude to all partners, supporters, and attendees who made the transformative journey towards sustainable education and clean energy a reality, as it took a bold step towards a greener and more enlightened future.
PGREF supports Pakistani and German businesses to develop mutually beneficial cooperation for successful renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Pakistan. It is a joint effort by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Ministry of Energy (MoE) of Pakistan, who are also acting as chairs of the Steering Committee. The Forum is operated by the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) and GIZ. Since its establishment in 2018, the secretariat of the Forum is located at the AEDB office in Islamabad.