Microsoft Renews Commitment to Education with $250M Investment
By Ikenna Ugwu
Microsoft today kicked off its annual Partners in Learning Global Forum with a reaffirmation of its commitment to education with a USD 250 million, five-year renewal of Partners in Learning (PiL), bringing Microsoft’s total investment in the program to USD 750 million over fifteen years. Microsoft aims to grow the PiL community to 20 million of the 75 million teachers worldwide by 2018 with the renewal and to continue preparing students for the changing global workforce.
Microsoft plans to expand PiL beyond the 119 countries that currently participate with a continued emphasis on driving community, developing networks and allowing educators to share innovations and learn from each other.
“We see a significant opportunity to invest in the economy of tomorrow by working with educators today to teach 21st century skills,” said Laura Ipsen, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector. “Studies have proven the significant impact a good teacher has on a student’s ability to gain employment and increase their incomes, which has a real impact on poverty and economic growth. Our focus on PiL is the cornerstone of Microsoft’s commitment to empower youth, spark innovation in the classroom and improve learning outcomes globally.”
“A strong education rooted in the skills and technology tools needed to enter the rapidly changing global workforce can lay a foundation for improving global economic outcomes,” said Godelieve van den Brande, European Commission, DG of Education and Culture
Microsoft’s commitment to education centers on providing training, resources and building community to support the teaching of 21st century skills to prepare today’s youth for the competitive global workforce. Research shows a strong connection between education and economic growth, and Partners in Learning is Microsoft’s global initiative to partner with educators and governments to advance student success through digital inclusion and innovative teaching practices. Partners in Learning is a key program within Microsoft YouthSpark, a companywide initiative to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world, by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Through the PiL program, Microsoft has trained more than 11 million teachers and reached over 200 million students since 2003.
“Transformation in educational practice is one of the most difficult things for schools and educators to achieve,” said .Jeff Davis, Executive Principal, Varsity College, Queensland, Australia. “Everyone talks of 21st century learning, but few have bridged the gap from theory into true innovative practice where students are actually using the technologies available on a daily basis and pedagogy shifts to a new domain. Microsoft’s Partners in Learning program stands apart. Not only does this program support schools and educators in making great leaps in bridging both the technical and pedagogical gaps, but the PiL program brings together those who have made this transformation leap and builds in them further capacity to become world leaders. Without the support of PiL, the innovation, collaboration and achievement levels at this school would not have been realised as they are now. We thank Microsoft for their support and belief in our school.”
Microsoft’s annual Partners in Learning Global Forum, hosted in Prague in 2012 is the culmination of national and regional forums that recognize innovative educators and school leaders. The 2012 Global Forum brings together more than 500 of the most innovative teachers, education leaders and government officials from 75 countries.Educators from seven African countries are among the 75 countries represented at the 2012 Global Forum. They are from Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. Teachers who attend the forum are global finalists who have made it through a progressively selective competition that started with more than 250,000 participants at national events. They will compete for one of 18 Partners in Learning Global Forum Educator Awards.
Acer is the platinum sponsor of this year’s event and will showcase many of their newest computers running Windows 8 during the Technology Showcase. Participants are encouraged to try-out the devices while the judges will use them throughout the week as they record information on the teacher projects. Acer’s full line of complementary education products supports the 1:1 learning approach in all subjects, enabling the pedagogy process in an easy and efficient way.