The YouthSpark program is part of Microsoft’s global initiative to provide cash grants, content and other resources to close the computer science education gap and empower Myanmar’s youth to achieve more
Singapore – 20 March 2017 – Microsoft Philanthropies has launched its inaugural YouthSpark program in Myanmar to bring access to computer science education for over 450 Myanmar youth. The program was launched in partnership with Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation (MBAPF), a non-profit organization (NPO) focused on promoting knowledge and learning among Myanmar people, especially those in disadvantaged communities.
The global YouthSpark initiative aims to deliver computational thinking and problem-solving skills to young people, important building blocks that allow them to succeed in today’s tech-fueled economy and empower them with the resources and content to be innovators and drivers of growth in their communities.
The local program, Mobile Information Literacy Training Course, saw over 40 librarians from governmental and public libraries attend the training course, which provided lessons on the use of ICT, privacy and cybersecurity over a four-day period. Dr. Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies lead, Microsoft Asia said: “We are delighted to have launched our first YouthSpark program here in Myanmar, which is a market with so much potential and a youth population that is eager to gain new knowledge. Today’s world is built increasingly around technology, an integral part of the lives of people around the world. All young people should have access to computer science education so they can learn the foundational ideas and develop the computational thinking skills that will be critical for their future, regardless of the career path they choose.
“We will continue to partner with NPOs across the Asia region to bring access to computer science education to all youth. By doing this, we hope to address unmet educational and economic development needs and empower communities to achieve more,” added Beitler.
Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung, Executive Director, MBAPF said: “Through our partnership with Microsoft Philanthropies, we are able to provide essential ICT training to our employees that will hone the necessary digital literacy skills required for the digital economy. The Mobile Information Literacy Training Course is the first step to imparting IT skills and our ambition is to have all 300 people from 10 libraries IT trained by 2018.”
Sy Wann, Country Manager, Microsoft Myanmar added: “We believe that technology can empower all of Myanmar’s people to achieve more, and that nobody should be left behind. IT skills and training can expand opportunities for Myanmar youth and prepare them for employment, and also help them innovate and start their own businesses.”
As part of Microsoft’s broader engagement in Myanmar, senior Microsoft executives will also meet with businesses, government, academic and non-profit leaders in Yangon on March 29 and 30 at an event entitled The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Why Does It Matter to All of Us?, in partnership with the Myanmar Book Foundation. This event will feature a dialogue with Dr. Astrid Tuminez, Microsoft’s Regional Director for Corporate, External and Legal Affairs (Southeast Asia), and will discuss digital transformation, cloud computing and cybersecurity, and its implications on economic development and shared prosperity in Myanmar.
Microsoft previously announced YouthSpark grants for over 100 NPOs in 55 markets, including 29 NPOs in Asia Pacific. The grants are a component of the $75 million commitment Microsoft made to increase access to computer science education around the world, as announced by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella last year.