Microsoft creates milestone through 'Project Shiksha'

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (UNI) Microsoft Corporation today announced that 'Project Shiksha', the company's initiative to accelerate IT literacy amongst government school teachers and students in India, has created a unique milestone by training two lakh teachers till date and impacting 10 million students across the country.

Launched in India in December 2003 by Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation, 'Project Shiksha' has a target of reaching out to 80,000 teachers by this year-end, a period of five years.

''The target has already been surpassed by 250 per cent, a year ahead of the deadline,'' Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd said.

Under the project, run in partnership with state governments, Microsoft India currently has MoUs with 10 states for 11 academies, offering a spectrum of education resources, including tools, programmes, and practices with an aim to promote the use of IT in education.

The 11 IT academies span across Uttaranchal (Dehradun), Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad), Karnataka (Gulbarga, Dharwad, Bangalore), Maharashtra (Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad), Rajasthan (Jaipur), Tamil Nadu (Chennai) and Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal).

Commenting on landmark achievement of the initiative, Karan Bajwa, Country Head, Microsoft India, said, ''We believe that education is a crucial area for India's continued growth. The investment made in it over the years is what has propelled India's growth in the knowledge economy; and it is critical that we continue to focus on education.'' He said the company, in its endeavour to partner with India on its journey towards socio-economic growth, had chosen education as one of the focus areas, and 'Project Shiksha' was a key constituent of this effort.

''We have just completed training 200,000 teachers -- in the process impacting 10 million students' lives -- and the numbers continue to grow every day. It's not just about numbers though.

Every single time we are able to help a teacher retain a child's interest or pull a student back into the classroom, we believe that we achieve some part of India's dream.'' A key reason for Project Shiksha's success is that apart from establishing IT academies, where it sets up the infrastructure for the state governments for training teachers, it has also tied up with various state-run District Institutes for Education and Training (DIETs), which help spread the reach of the programme.

It has also tied up with educational institutions like the Jawahar Navodya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS), Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Madarsas, and other government schools.

A key highlight of the project is that it has achieved the training of all teachers in 514 NVS schools across the country; and will complete all 923 KVS, schools by June this year.

Under 'Project Shiksha, Microsoft collaborates with state ducation departments, with the partnership entailing a joint commitment to accelerate IT literacy in the state, with the infrastructure provided by the government and the trainers and curriculum provided by Microsoft.

Further, the teachers are updated on how to integrate using computers in everyday classroom teaching through a tailored curriculum, which is available in the local language.

In addition, Microsoft India sponsors teacher and student scholarships, and has launched an online community for teacher collaboration, best practice sharing and honing of skill sets. As a follow up, refresher trainings are conducted on a regular basis; as well as audits to ascertain the readiness of teachers in terms of skill sets for delivering the IT led training in an effective manner.

At a global platform, Microsoft conducts the annual Innovative Teachers Leadership awards to acknowledge and encourage teachers to innovatively use IT in classroom teaching.

UNI/SKS HS RK1830

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