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Microsoft to help Maharashtra schools with ICT

25 August 2009

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The west Indian state has signed an MoU with Microsoft India to enhance ICT adoption in schools and build the employability readiness skills of the future workforce.

Mumbai: After signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) three years back with Microsoft India in 2007, the Government of Maharashtra, recently signed another MoU in the field of education and employability.

According to the new agreement, the software giant will help the state government to enhance ICT adoption in schools and build the employability readiness skills of the future workforce in Maharashtra.

Government of Maharashtra's Education Secretary, Sanjay Kumar, IAS, and Microsoft India's managing director Rajan Anandan signed the agreement in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Education Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.

"In a globalized world, it's important for Indian youth to be familiar with the same tools and technologies that their peers around the world use. IT education and access to the latest IT tools and software will go a long way towards giving them a competitive advantage. We look forward to Microsoft's expertise in this area," commented Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.

The latest MoU is an extension of the previous agreement, under which Microsoft had setup three state-of-the-art IT academies in Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad. Also, it trained over 92,000 teachers who in turn impacted over 46,00,000 students in the state.

Under the new education alliance, Microsoft will further train about 6000 teachers, some 100,000 pre-service teachers and also add three new IT academies in next two years. The aim is to adopt ICT and bring in focus on employability and build capacity in the state.

Microsoft will provide training to the teachers and pre-service teachers with a 10 day training module in a classroom setup, and then each of the trained resources can then further build ICT readiness among others educators in the cluster. The company will conduct over 200 sessions at the district level for offering training to 6000 resources.

In terms of building employability readiness amongst class 11 and 12 students, Microsoft will initiate two key programs such as Live@Edu initiative and DreamSpark. According to Microsoft's Anandan, the company will continue to invest in long-term partnership with governments and NGOs in promoting ICT education in India.

"Focusing on employability for students of class 11 and 12, Microsoft will help deploy the Digital Literacy curriculum (DLC), which is a self-learning multimedia module to learning computing fundamentals for first time users," said Anandan.

"After learning the module, students will need to clear an exam and will be awarded a Microsoft certificate that will provider more possibilities of employment to the students. And secondly, Microsoft will provide soft skill training including English speaking and basic personality grooming to make the students employment ready as per the industry needs," added Anandan.

Moreover, under the Microsoft's Live@Edu initiative, the company will provide students and teachers with email IDs as per school specific domains across some 85,000 schools in the state and aims to create an online community.

Ashok Chavan observed that the education alliance would help bridge the gap in the education field and global demands using ICT.

Source : CIOL

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