Portuguese Government and Microsoft Partner on Affordable Computing Agreement for Schoolchildren

Editor’s note, last updated Oct. 21, 2008 –
References to program names of Microsoft’s Digital Literacy and Security Curriculum were updated post-publication, along with the name for the Microsoft Learning Suite for Magellan.

PORTO SALVO, Portugal — Oct. 3, 2008 — The government of Portugal and Microsoft Corp. today signed an agreement to help accelerate technology adoption in education with the international launch of the Microsoft Learning Suite for Magellan. In support of the Portuguese government’s “e-Escolinhas” program, Microsoft has developed a comprehensive suite of software, training, content, services and support for the Magellan, an affordable portable computer for primary and junior high school students made in Portugal.

Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced significant Microsoft investment in the Magellan Initiative through the Microsoft Unlimited Potential program, Microsoft’s commitment to make technology more affordable, relevant and accessible for the 5 billion people around the world who do not yet enjoy its benefits. The launch of the Learning Suite for Magellan draws on the involvement and expertise of the Portuguese government and the technology industry, including Carlos Zorrinho, coordinator of the Technological Plan in Portugal, a far-reaching initiative by the government to provide Portuguese citizens with the latest technology to support their participation in a knowledge-based economy.

“With the Magellan computer and the massive introduction of ICTs in the Portuguese education system, for the first time a whole generation will grow up to have strong English and ICT skills,” said José Sócrates, prime minister of Portugal. “This new generation will be better prepared and able to contribute more to the modernization and development of Portugal. Furthermore, with the Magellan initiative, a PC will be introduced in many homes for the first time, thus also strongly contributing to overcoming info-exclusion in general.”

“Providing students with access to technology and educational opportunities that will enable them to thrive in the knowledge economy is critical to the future success of every community,” Ballmer said. “We are pleased and honored to join the Portuguese government and others on the Magellan Initiative as we work together to make technology more relevant, accessible and affordable for students in Portugal and around the world.”

In addition to efforts to bring cost-effective computing solutions to students and teachers around the world, Microsoft offers a host of technology-based education solutions, programs and products through its Partnerships for Technology Access (PTA) and Partners in Learning initiative. PTA has served over 1.5 million citizens in similar public-private partnerships worldwide. Earlier this year, Microsoft renewed its worldwide commitment to Partners in Learning, through Microsoft Unlimited Potential, with an additional five-year investment of $235.5 million (U.S.) that aims to triple the impact of the resources and training that already has touched the lives of more than 680,000 students, teachers and education policy-makers in Portugal since its launch in 2004.

Magellan Initiative

Microsoft’s investment in the Learning Suite for Magellan is designed to encourage targeted, international adoption of the Magellan educational computers by addressing the need for relevant software and content, user support, digital literacy, and broad scalability:

  • Investment in training for students, parents and teachers will promote greater digital inclusion, with particular focus on Internet security.

  • A tailored desktop for the Magellan portable computer will be developed. In addition to the Windows XP operating system, Magellan computers will also feature Microsoft Office 2007 and a suite of educational products, including Microsoft Student Learning Essentials, Microsoft Maths and Microsoft Encarta Online.

  • Learning and education resources for students, parents and teachers will be provided through the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum and Security Curriculum.

  • Through Microsoft Live@Edu, these collaborative services will be made available for students, parents and teachers: Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Spaces, Windows Live SkyDrive, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mesh and Microsoft Office Live Workspace. With this service suite, all Magellan users will be able to communicate with each other in a security-enhanced and collaborative environment.

  • Training and technical support through the National Teacher Training Program is aimed at fostering a richer and more productive usage of Magellan, in and outside the classroom. At the training plan level, special focus shall be given to parents in what concerns a more secure usage of technology, to empower them to give support and be able to answer their children’s queries.

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.

About Microsoft

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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