Renewable energy raises hope for most Basotho

‘MASENTLE MAKARA

With electricity tariffs rapidly increasing annually, making life more difficult and expensive the National University of Lesotho (NUL) has found an alternative through the sustainable energy course.NUL, through its energy research centre (ERC), has developed short courses in sustainable energy with the support of the EU-ACP funded Southern African Sustainable Energy initiative (SASEI) and EU-Africa Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP).

The university is promoting the courses which will commence in August this year. Last Thursday, the university was at Alliance Française de Maseru explaining the courses to the public. Only 20 learners will be admitted to the main Masters degree course, while 10 others would be allowed to enrol for the short appreciation courses. Altogether there are 12 courses and a Masters student is expected to choose eight which include socio economic and technical courses. For the short courses, NUL is targeting people already in the field of energy without qualifi cations and any other ordinary Basotho who may be interested.

ABC Secretary General Samonyane Ntsekele on Monday stepped up to the plate and invited the mavericks to an impromptu meeting that finally put the leadership crisis which led to the growing sedition on the table. While the revolt gradually gains momentum despite interventions, ABC youth league spokesperson Mphonyane Lebesa told Public Eye yesterday that all members of the party were “indebted to Thabane for the sacrifices he made for the party” and therefore they should all subject themselves to his authority, control, guidance and instruction.

Under the technical modules there is: Introduction to Renewable Energy, Solar Photovoltaic Systems, Solar Thermal Systems, Bio-Energy, Wind Energy, Hydropower and Electrical Power Systems. Socio-Economic modules include; sustainable development, energy planning and management, energy policy and regulation, energy economics and project finance, and sustainable energy solutions for communities.

In an interview with Public Eye this week, the Energy Research Centre Administrator at NUL Dr Moeketsi Mpholo said: “Either you do one of the courses, between the masters and the short course, what differs is in the assessment.They attend the same classes but masters students get longer assignment and sit for their examinations. On the other hand, because a short course is more like an appreciation the students only attend classes but there is no assessment.”

“Our courses run for a week from 8am to 6pm everyday. We give the material a month before so the same day they come to class we give them a test as an indicator that you have read the material. The very same week, students are given the assignment and sit their examination. After that week they are given another longer assignment due the next month when you are a masters student,” Mpholo said.

“You have to do at least one of each stream. The first year you do the courses the second year you do the thesis and internship. Internship runs for a minimum of six months and we can throw you anywhere around the world. We are very lucky. Now we are starting primarily because we have so many companies that are keen to assist us to take our learners for internship,” he added.

Most of these companies are based in Europe but are involved in projects all over the world and it gives students an opportunity to see how things are done in other places as they will be thrown to some parts of the continent. Mpolo further said: “Currently we have two companies which are going to offer entrepreneurship courses to teach learners how to start their businesses through this course. So these will be coming just before students go to an internship to do an intensive entrepreneurship programme.”

Primarily the course is sponsored by EU so they bring their technical experts for energy for a relevant course to give an international perspective on how things are done. “The minimum of lecturers for each course is four comprising two local and two from abroad.” “For practical courses they go to the labs after hours. If it was for the Solar PV Systems for example, then the students should go and install the solar system somewhere to demonstrate that they would have understood what they were taught.”

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