Microsoft IT Academy upskills students for future workplaces

25 November, 2013, Sydney, AUSTRALIA – Microsoft Australia is pleased to announce the incorporation of the Microsoft IT Academy certification program into 275 Queensland state schools. Following extensive collaboration with the Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) and the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA), Microsoft certification exams are now recognised as credit towards the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) marking the first time the program has been approved and embedded at a state level in Australia.
The coursework offers industry-leading technology skills to secondary-aged students throughout the state, who will receive one QCE credit for each Microsoft certification exam passed with a total of eight credits available in the Enrichment Learning Category.

Designed to provide students and teachers with 21st century workplace skills and learning opportunities, the Microsoft IT Academy’s overarching aim is to ensure that Australian school students have the technical knowledge required in the modern workforce. Online courses are also available which provide students with alternative learning pathways that can contribute towards tertiary studies and employment.

Queensland Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said the Microsoft IT Academy provided students with the technical skills required in today’s world.

“There’s no doubt that in this day and age, students must have an understanding of IT in order to gain meaningful employment,” Mr Langbroek said.

“This program also helps develop teacher’s skills and exposes them to advanced and up-to-date coursework that they can integrate into their teaching and learning.

“I’m proud that Queensland is the first state in Australia to approve this program and I look forward to seeing our students reap the benefits.”
Easily aligned to the curriculum for incorporation into lesson plans, each school is provided with more than 400 self-paced, interactive online learning experiences, with a Learning Management System tracking course participation. Recognised by the QSA, the Microsoft IT Academy also exposes students to global opportunities with its internationally recognised certifications.

To protect student privacy and align to state privacy regulations, Microsoft worked extensively with the department to create a federated access solution. Accessible 24/7 from school or at home, the web-based portal, The Learning Place, enables easy access to the IT Academy curriculum. The department has shared best practices with countries such as Switzerland and the Netherlands to help others benefit from their experience.
“The Microsoft IT Academy is part of our commitment to nurturing the digital learning revolution in the local education sector. The possible integration into the curriculum marks an innovative step forward for Queensland state schools,” said George Stavrakakis, director of education, Microsoft Australia,

“It is essential that senior students enter the workforce equipped with the digital skills expected by employers. The coursework contained in the program will assist Queensland students in preparing for the world after school and we look forward to further integration in other Australian states.”

After an initial deployment to schools in August 2012 following the development of the federated access solution, Microsoft and DETE jointly applied to the Queensland Studies Authority. Following the extensive application and approval process, QSA recognition was approved for students in June 2013.


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