JAKARTA, Indonesia — May 9, 2008 — Today, in his keynote address at the Government Leaders Forum—Asia (GLF Asia) in Jakarta, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates announced several new programs, partnerships and offerings that strengthen Microsoft’s commitment to and investment in delivering accessible technology and transforming education for citizens across the Asia Pacific region and around the world.
The announcements include new education tools for people with special needs; the extension of an important skills development and certification program available through Internet cafes (iCafes) in the Philippines; the further progress of Microsoft’s flagship K–12 education program Partners in Learning, which has now achieved a milestone number of 100 million students reached worldwide; and the expansion of Microsoft Innovation Centers in Indonesia with Pelita Harapan University.
“At the heart of our efforts is the belief that technology can provide capabilities that are key to creating new jobs and generating sustainable economic growth, including access to a quality education and the knowledge and infrastructure to foster local innovation,” Gates said. “We want to do everything we can to equip people with PCs, the Internet, productivity software, e-mail and other tools of the digital information revolution so that they can be full participants in the global knowledge economy.”
Broadening Access to Technology
Microsoft believes information technology can have a significant impact on people’s lives and is committed to working with public and private sector organizations to seek solutions to expand access to technology. Demonstrating this commitment, Microsoft today announced it will be teaming up with the Oscar-winning New Zealand-based animation studio Weta Workshop and Australian software developer Northern Territory Institute for Community Education and Development (NTICED) to help the estimated 10 percent of the world’s population living with special needs acquire skills and knowledge through the use of technology. Initially, the collaboration will make resources and tools based on its Partners in Learning Curriculum available to students and educators through an interactive Web site that will deliver audio, written text, images and video through rich animation-based content.
“Animation has the capacity to unlock the power of education for children,” said J. Easterby Wood, partnering director of NTICED. “This new collaboration will enhance the ability for students with learning difficulties around the world to discover, experience and learn for life.”
“Weta Workshop is very excited about collaborating with Microsoft to help address assistive learning in communities all over the world,” said Richard Taylor, director of Weta Workshop. “By creating a rich set of tools and resources, we hope to give educators and students an experience that will accelerate their advancement and meet their unique needs.”
Commitment to Lifelong Learning
Microsoft believes learning is a lifelong endeavor. In today’s knowledge-based economy, computer literacy has become a vital workplace skill — a skill that millions of people worldwide still lack. Today, to help address this important need, Microsoft announced an agreement with Philippines-based iCafe operator Netopia to launch an innovative pilot program that brings new learning and training opportunities to people through Netopia’s 169 iCafes. This program will provide access to software such as the 2007 Microsoft Office system in addition to digital literacy courses and free certifications through the Microsoft IT Academy Learning Portal to help citizens gain the skills and education necessary to build or advance their careers.
“We are thrilled to be working with Microsoft to bring e-learning technology to our iCafe customers throughout the Philippines,” said George H. Tan, CEO of Netopia. “Our mission is to provide affordable access to information and communication to people without computers and the Internet. Now, with the digital literacy courses and certification from Microsoft, we are expanding our services and enabling new opportunities.”
Collaboration With Universities to Foster Local Economic Growth
Microsoft Innovation Centers are at the forefront of building local software economies through partnerships with universities around the world. Innovation Centers provide access to world-class resources for software developers, IT professionals, students, academic researchers and entrepreneurs. Today, Microsoft announced it will collaborate with Pelita Harapan University in Jakarta to open a new Innovation Center in Indonesia. There are currently four Innovation Centers operating in Indonesia in partnership with leading universities across the country. This expansion marks the second largest investment in the program in Asia Pacific, after China.
First established in 2006, a network of 110 Innovation Centers now serve 100 communities in 60 countries around the world, including more than 30 across 13 countries in Asia Pacific. Microsoft Innovation Centers focus on three core programs for the benefit of local students, entrepreneurs and other technology industry players:
Skills and Intellectual Capital offers software development courses, business skills and market development training, and employment programs for students.
Industry Partnerships fosters the creation and development of industry clusters, software quality certification, and hands-on technology labs.
Innovation includes supporting the Microsoft Imagine Cup, the world’s largest student software development competition.
Imagine Cup participation is an important aspect of the Microsoft Innovation Center program. An outstanding example is the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) Innovation Center, which the past three years has fielded the winning team that has represented Indonesia at the worldwide Imagine Cup finals.
“Promoting innovation amongst our student population helps ensure that Indonesia increases its ability to be competitive in the global information economy,” said Dr. Djoko Santoso, rector of Bandung Institute of Technology. “The Imagine Cup provides an opportunity for our students to test their programming skills against the best and the brightest students in the world, and to develop software that maps to real issues facing society today.”
This year, ITB’s winning entry, Team Butterfly, showed how technology can help promote environmental sustainability by creating a reporting tool that allows anybody to report environmental abuse to alert government officials and the public. The team will take this solution to the worldwide finals in Paris in July. More than 42,000 students from across the Asia Pacific region have registered for the Imagine Cup 2008.
More information on Microsoft Innovation Centers can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/innovation/centers.
Partners in Learning Milestone
Microsoft achieved an important milestone in its efforts to transform education across Asia Pacific and around the world, reaching more than 100 million students globally through its flagship K–12 education initiative, Partners in Learning. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a recommitment of $235.5 million (U.S.) to Partners in Learning that will bring the company’s total 10-year investment to nearly $500 million, and is estimated to enable the program to significantly expand its impact by reaching many more students and teachers around the world in the next five years.
One such example is Korea’s Ubiquitous Learning, or “U-Learning,” project, developed in conjunction with the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. Students use technology such as Tablet PCs and mobile devices to access, share and present content and digital textbooks in subjects such as math, Korean, English, society, music and science.
The initial pilot program started in nine schools and has since expanded to 20, and the government aims to fully digitize all curriculum by 2020.
Together, these products, programs and partnerships connect a global community of governments, partners and educators in an effort to improve access to affordable technologies, create new lifelong learning and skills training opportunities, and support educational innovations that are relevant to local communities in Asia and around the world.
Microsoft’s vision for education in the 21st century is driven by the shared belief that the use of technology in education will help remove limitations, foster innovation and enable everyone to achieve their fullest potential.
More information on Microsoft Partners in Learning can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/education/PartnersinLearning.mspx.
About Unlimited Potential
Microsoft, through its Unlimited Potential vision, is committed to making technology more affordable, relevant and accessible for the 5 billion people around the world who do not yet enjoy its benefits. The company aims to do so by helping to transform education and foster a culture of innovation, and through these means enable better jobs and opportunities. By working with governments, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations and industry partners, Microsoft hopes to reach its first major milestone — to reach the next 1 billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology — by 2015.
More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/unlimitedpotential/default.mspx.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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