Chennai: Reaffirming its commitment towards transforming the education landscape, the government of Tamil Nadu today announced an agreement with Microsoft to improve the integration of technology in teaching and learning in the state. The partnership was announced by Shri K.A. Sengottaiyan, Minister for School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu at an event attended by academia and regulators. It aims to reform education, build tech capacity and enhance digital literacy across all levels.
As a part of the agreement, Microsoft will adopt seven schools identified by the government and train their teachers and students around building 21st century skills which includes critical thinking, creative coding & gaming, app development, robotics, and entrepreneurship. Microsoft will also offer its Microsoft Innovative Educator Program to all educators in primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary education across the state. Additionally, the company will train and provide a digital literacy certification District Education Officers (DEOs) in Tamil Nadu.
Talking of the agreement, Shri K.A. Sengottaiyan, Minister for School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu said,” We are committed to harnessing the power of the technology to reform education in Tamil Nadu and make our youth future-ready with the essential digital skills. We have a longstanding partnership with Microsoft and believe their expertise in this area makes them an ideal partner for our transformational initiatives.”
Building educator capacity
Microsoft will provide resources, free tools & software, as well as online professional development specifically tailored for educators through its Partners in Learning Network. The company has so far trained 48,000 teachers in Tamil Nadu on usage of ICT in education. From this skilled ecosystem, the company will now further train a set of 500 school teachers as ‘master trainers’ over next few months . These master trainers willin turn enable their peers state-wide. In addition to offering a fundamental understanding of computers and productivity software, the comprehensive Microsoft Teaching with Technology (TwT) Curriculum program will empower educators with a deeper knowledge of how technology integration can enhance the teaching and learning experience, equipping students with 21st-century skills. All educators of Tamil Nadu will be eligible to seek certification as Microsoft Certified Educators and apply for the elite Microsoft Expert Educator program.
Building administrator capacity
The company will also impart training to District Education Officers (DEOs) over a the next few few months. The DEOs will further percolate technology usage to the schools and staff in their districts. The Digital Literacy Curriculum will be available both online and offline and provide the officers the opportunity to be internationally certified on various Microsoft Technologies.
Manish Prakash, Country General Manager – Public Sector, Health & Education, Microsoft India, said, “At Microsoft we believe that education is the single-most important investment in the future of
individuals, and key to the growth of a nation. We are deeply invested in empowering India’s education ecosystem with technology, necessary for success in the 21st century. The combination of quality content, partnerships, capacity building of teachers and administrators is as essential for this as access to technology We are delighted to continue our collaboration with the state of Tamil Nadu in this journey.”
Through the last 12 years, Microsoft has been functioning as a key contributor in the area of education in Tamil Nadu. Over 48,000 teachers have been trained under the Microsoft Shiksha
program, which empowers government teachers by integrating computing into their teaching, creating a fun and interactive learning atmosphere for their students. Several of these educators have
been recipients of ICT awards at the State and National level as well. Through Project Saksham the company works with 15 universities in the region, enabling faculty to become ICT Champions who digitize their institutions, build technology-enabled content repositories and schedule online sessions. This is in addition to helping the government set up digital classrooms in the Presidency Girls Higher Secondary School, Egmore, and Govt. Model Girls Higher Secondary School, Triplicane.
In the last 10 years, Microsoft’s education, skill development, entrepreneurship and digital literacy programs have touched over 5 crore people across India. Project Shiksha, has trained over 780,000 teachers and reached over 3.9 million students in India since its launch in 2002, Project Saksham has conducted trainings for over 3,307 educators across 123 universities. 238 educators from India joined the Microsoft Innovative Educator program in FY17. They are part of the 7600-educator strong global MIE community and work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education. Microsoft has invested over INR 670 crore in not-for-profit programs such as YouthSpark, BizSpark, Imagine Cup and Partners in Learning in India in the last decade alone.