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