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Tuesday, August 18, 2009 08:25:45 PM, UNI

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Mumbai: Maharashtra government today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft India to enhance Information and Communication Technology adoption in schools and build employability readiness skills of future workforce in the state.


The MoU was signed by state education secretary Sanjay Kumar and Microsoft India managing director Rajan Anandan here in the presence of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Education Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil. It is based on the success of an already existing relationship, and aims to take the ICT adoption further and focus on employability and building capacity in the state.


Under the ongoing association, Microsoft India had set up three state-of-the-art IT Academies in Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad, and trained over 92,000 teachers, who in turn impacted over 46,00,000 students.


Commenting on the agreement, Patil said the state looked forward to tap Microsoft's expertise in the area as it was important for Indian youth to be familiar with tools and technologies their peers around the world use. IT education and access to the latest IT tools and software would go a long way towards giving them a competitive advantage.


Anandan said Maharashtra had always been among the leading Indian states when it comes to progressiveness. As the state aims to enhance its socio-economic index, IT will play a key enabling role, he said.


In addition to the three academies which would, over the next two years, train 6,000 teachers as well as 100,000 pre-service teachers, Microsoft would also help build last mile capacity among educators. One educator from each cluster in the state would be required to undergo a ten day training-module in a classroom setup; and each of the trained resources would further build ICT readiness among others educators in the cluster.


Microsoft would conduct over 200 sessions at the district level over the next two years for training 6,000 resources in as many clusters as possible. Additionally, the initiative will focus on building employability readiness amongst students of classes 11 and 12.


There are approximately a million students enrolled in these classes in Maharashtra who are eligible for this training.


Under the agreement, Microsoft will help deploy the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum (DLC), a self learning multimedia based module which introduces the fundamentals of computing to a first-time user. The students will be assessed once the modules are completed, and awarded a Microsoft certificate, if successful.


An important part of the skill building initiative is an enhancement of soft skills like English speaking and basic personality grooming, to make the students more employment ready.


Another unique aspect of the MoU is the development of a single login through Microsoft’s Live Edu initiative, which will enable all students and teachers across approximately 85,000 schools in the state to acquire e-mail with school-specific domains, provide them with applications aimed to enhance collaboration (through Office Live Workspace), and provide the schools with tools for creating an online community.


In addition, one of the biggest highlights of the agreement would be the introduction of Microsoft’s global program DreamSpark, under which a student could get access to the suite of Microsoft Software Development tools free of cost. 50,000 technical students are estimated to benefit from DreamSpark.








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