Microsoft at its just concluded Partners in Learning Global Forum, re-affirmed its commitment to education to improve teacher skills and resources to improve student readiness for the global workforce.
This commitment is reinforced with a $250 million investment and a five-year renewal of Partners in Learning (PiL) projects, which brings Microsoft's total investment in the programme to $750 million over 15 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.
Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector, Laura Ipsen, explained that companysee significant opportunity to invest in the economy of tomorrow by working with educators today to teach 21st century skills, adding that studies have proved that the significant impact a good teacher has on a student's ability to gain employment and increase their incomes, 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," she said.
Director-General of Education and Culture, Godelieve van den Brande, European Commission, also stated that 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.
Meanwhile, the Executive Principal, Varsity College, Queensland, Australia, Jeff Davis, added that transformation in educational practice is one of the most difficult things for schools and educators to achieve.
"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 PiL programme stands apart. Not only does this programme support schools and educators in making great leaps in bridging both the technical and pedagogical gaps, but the PiL programme 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," he said.
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 PiLis Microsoft's global initiative to partner with educators and governments to advance student success through digital inclusion and innovative teaching practices. It is a key programme within Microsoft YouthSpark, a company wide 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 programme, Microsoft has trained more than 11 million teachers and reached over 200 million students since 2003.