As part of its YouthSpark program, Microsoft recently brought together its resources and perspective from around the world to help Indian’s youth succeed in the new digital economy. Microsoft YouthSpark brings together technology, training, investments and experiences to help the youth change the world. Over the years, we have partnered closely with several central and state government departments in India for initiatives to help skill the youth of the country. These include the Ministry of Human Resources Development, National Skill Development Corporation, and the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Through an investment of over INR 670 crore from Microsoft, the company’s skill development, entrepreneurship and digital literacy programs have touched over 5 crore people in the last 10 years. Microsoft believes that technology offers renewed possibilities that can empower both educators and students in this new mobile-first, cloud-first world. Technology empowers and helps us imagine and realize our full potential, and Microsoft’s YouthSpark delivers just that.
Empower is about transforming education and expanding digital inclusion. It means helping youth acquire the skills that are necessary to survive and thrive in the 21st century workplace. YouthSpark programs are geared towards this. Examples include:
- Free Software: Office 365 is free for all students and teachers in India, and provides ready access to technology tools that power learning and collaboration. 90 lakh students use this free software today.
- Training for Teachers: To make teachers proficient in using technology in the classroom, we train teachers every year. Through different programs like Projects Shiksha and Saksham, we have already trained 8 lakh teachers in India.
- Free Digital Curriculum: The goal of Microsoft Digital Literacy is to teach and assess basic computer concepts and skills to enable people to use computer technology in their everyday life and develop new social and economic opportunities for themselves, their families and their communities. Available in multiple Indian languages including Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and Urdu, over 1.7 lakh Indians have been digitally enabled till date.
Imagine is about inspiration and possibilities. It is about unleashing future innovators. Young people need to imagine a different kind of world that is filled with new possibilities and believe that they can build it. At Microsoft, we want to help them imagine what a better tomorrow looks like, and help them reach there. A few examples of our programs in this area include:
- DreamSpark: through DreamSpark, we give free access to Microsoft designer and developer tools for students and educators. These help advance the learning and teaching of key technical skills during high school – a critical time in a student’s development. Students in India have downloaded these tools 1.2 crore times.
- Imagine Cup: Imagine Cup is the world’s largest student technology competition. Last year, more than 350,000 students from 183 countries and regions participated in the global competition. Of this, 60,000 students from 25 states participated in the Indian leg of Imagine Cup, with two teams going on to compete in the global finals. Over the years, more than 2 million students in India have participated in Imagine Cup.
- Low Cost Devices: Highly subsidized Windows tablets and PCs running free software are helping state governments across India in providing students with a window into a new world. Windows software is free for OEMs manufacturing devices that are under 9 inches in size. Many local OEMs are offering educational institutions new low cost tablets with free Windows operating system.
- College Accelerators & Hackathons: 14 Tier I engineering colleges are part of our college Accelerator program, learning the newest technology and participating in hackathons to build new apps every year.
- Innovation Centers: We run 49 Microsoft Innovation Centers in colleges and technology institutions across India. These centers provide students with an opportunity to innovate using technology under expert guidance.
Realize is about helping young people apply their skills and ideas to secure employment, pursue greater education, or start a new business or social venture. Some examples of our programs that are helping increase employability and entrepreneurship include:
- BizSpark: through Microsoft BizSpark, we help students start their first ventures. We fund their start–ups, give them the technology and the means to make it work, and offer mentoring. Start-ups have access to $60,000 worth of free cloud service every year.
- Digital Literacy & Livelihood Training: through our Project Jyoti, we have trained 5 lakh underprivileged youth and helped them become employable. 70% of those trained in 2013 have found jobs or opened their own small businesses. Similarly, our Project Oorja has helped students across 31 polytechnics in 6 states.
- Professional Training & Certification: 3.4 lakh students and young professionals in India have been certified as Microsoft Certified Professionals, helping them to confidently join the IT industry. In 2014-15, Microsoft will train over 20 lakh people, of which, at least 10 lakh will be women.
- Microsoft IT Academy: Microsoft IT Academy (ITA) program provides industry-leading technology skills to help bridge the skills gap. Under this program, Microsoft provides industry-leading training resources and validation of skills to enhance college readiness and employability for students and educators, at significantly reduced pricing.
Microsoft has been an integral part of India’s transformation over the last 24 years, and we are excited about the new opportunities that India and its youth have in this mobile-first, cloud-first world.
For more information, log into Microsoft YouthSpark Hub: