MS recognises IT application in classroom teaching

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New Delhi, Feb 15: Microsoft India announced the winners of the Innovative Teachers Leadership award (ITLA) for the year 2006. Instituted in 2004 under its India education program Project Shiksha, these awards seek to honor those teachers who are innovatively using IT in redefining classroom teaching and learning practices. Microsoft has till date trained over 110,000 teachers and reached out to over 5.5 million students under Project Shiksha. The ITLA Award this year received 14,000 registrations with the final 10 winners evaluated by an eminent panel of local educationists, faculty from Madras University and UNESCO. 

The Awards ceremony was held in Delhi in the presence of an eminent gathering of teachers, academicians and senior government officials. Those present included the Chief Guest Mr Ashok Ganguly, Chairman - CBSE, Prof Utpal Malik - Joint Director, Central Institute of Education Technology, NCERT; Prof Sadagopan - IIIT, Bangalore, Dr Madhav Chavan - Director Pratham, Subhash Khuntia - Joint Secretary, Ministry of HRD, George Deikun - Director USAID and Rohit Kumar - Country Manager Public Sector Microsoft India. 

The winners, selected from across the country, will attend the regional seminar being held next month in Cambodia. The conference will provide the attendees a unique opportunity to showcase their work, share best practices and gain valuable insights into innovative practices being deployed by their contemporaries across the region. 

Outlining Microsoft's focus on education and the importance of these awards, Rohit Kumar, Country Head - Public Sector, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. said, "Microsoft's Project Shiksha is aimed at employing the benefits of ICT within the education process and is dedicated to improving the technology competencies of teachers and students worldwide. The Innovative Teachers Leadership Award serves as an excellent platform for providing added impetus to the academic community to innovatively use IT within the education process. These awards underline our focus on honoring and recognizing the best IT talent within the teacher community." 

Elaborating on the award, Tarun Malik - Lead Rural Computing, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd. said, "The aim of Project Shiksha is not just IT training but to equip the teachers to use IT as a medium of learning. And we know from experience that computer-aided education makes learning more interesting. The ITLA award is to honor those teachers who have demonstrated a deep commitment towards transforming traditional classroom learning methods through innovative use of IT." 

About ITLA

Under Project Shiksha, the Innovative Teachers Leadership Awards were announced in 2004 and continued in 2005. In 2004, 10 teachers from Government schools were selected and sent to the Regional Event in Singapore, after a nationwide contest. One teacher was awarded at the Regional event and he participated in the global event held in Redmond in June 2005. Similarly, in 2005, a nationwide contest was run and 15 teachers were selected to participate in the Regional Event in Korea, in November 2005. 

This year Microsoft received more than 14,000 entries and the final winners were declared after three rigorous rounds conducted by eminent educationists, faculty of the University of Madras and UNESCO. 

Project Shiksha - 'Empowering the future'

The program was launched by Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft on his India visit in November 2002. Entailing an India investment of million, Project Shiksha seeks to deliver affordable software solutions, comprehensive training and curriculum to over 200,000 school teachers and 10 million students across schools in the next 5 years. 

So far, Microsoft has trained over 110,000 teachers and reached out to over 5.5 million students in the first phase of implementation of Project Shiksha. MoUs have been signed with 10 state governments including Uttaranchal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan. 8 Microsoft IT Academy Centres are up and running today in Uttaranchal (Dehradun), Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad), Karnataka (Gulbarga, Dharwad, Bangalore), Maharashtra (Pune and Nagpur) and Rajasthan (Jaipur). 

In addition, Microsoft has signed an MoU with the Municipal Corporation of New Delhi for extending reach of IT to students and teachers in MCD schools. A key deliverable of the MoU is a Teacher training program which aims to train more than 12,000 teachers over the 5 year period. 

Microsoft also has a tie up with the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) schools (under the Ministry of HRD) and conducts training at 11 Training centers located in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Pondicherry and Assam. Teacher training has also commenced at JNV Panchawati, Andaman and Minicoy Islands, Lakshwadeep.

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