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Microsoft partners UP in elementary education

Written by: Staff
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Lucknow, Apr 2 (UNI) Moving towards an innovative public-private partnership in the field of elementary education, Uttar Pradesh has joined hands with IT major Microsoft to launch an ambitious project -- 'Project Shiksha,' -- for the training of teachers.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed last week paving way for Microsoft to establish five centres in UP for teachers training -- an aspect ignored since long.

'Project Shiksha' will focus on devising a comprehensive teacher training.

It would be the first such Microsoft endeavour to impart its expertise in the field of elementary education in UP, which has the maximum enrollments of students in primary level in the country.

A total of 3,000 government teachers would be trained annually at the designated traning centres in five UP districts -- Jhansi, Bulandshahr, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Lucknow. Under the agreement, UP would the bear expenses of providing computers, while Microsoft would provide the software and impart free training.

This unique partnership would ensure one fully trained teacher each in about 2.3 lakh primary and upper primary high schools all over UP in three years.

Microsoft has also decided to waive off its share of profit on purchse of its computer hardware and software. Around Rs 40 lakh of the state government would be saved in addition to the company providing its expertise as per the MoU, the basic education department officials said here adding, the idea was to involve Microsoft in such future ventures for promoting the growth of technology in education.

This tie-up would help improve education standards to a great deal considering that merely one per cent of the total 20,000 teachers in UP are trained.

'Project Shiksha' comes close on the heels of another tie-up forged by UP with non-profit organisation Rotory International, which as per the MoU will adopt 100 primary schools.

As a unique public-private partnership example in the field of primary education and being a component of 'Literacy for All by 2015', Rotory will adopt the schools and help in monitoring their activities vis-a-vis student enrollment, attendance augmentation, water supply and toilets, construction of boundary walls, libraries, computer awareness, health check up, environmental awareness and overall development of students.

These schools would be known as 'Rotary International adopted schools' and the nominated officials of UP government and Rotary would meet at least twice a year to review the progress of the programme and promote the spirit of mutual cooperation, sources informed.

Meanwhile, sources said the state government would designate a single point of contact for 'Project Shiksha' to ensure accountability by reviewing it every three months.

Acording to officials, UP had recognised the introduction of IT as a regular subject in various levels of education was key to success of the Project and Microsoft will assist in developing such a student curriculum.

Microsoft will also help determine and design the student curriculum to be introduced as a subject in respect of IT in all classes from class 3rd upto 12th level.

UNI

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