Microsoft Thailand and Office of the Basic Education Commission sign five-year agreement to address nation's top priority -- creating a skilled workforce by improving education.
BANGKOK, May 21, 2014 /CNW/ - The Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) and Microsoft (Thailand) Limited on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding that will provide 8 million students and 400,000 teachers across Thailand with free access to Microsoft Office 365 for education. The agreement, which also includes the extension of the highly successful Partners in Learning initiative to 2019, represents the single biggest cloud service deployment for Microsoft in the education sector globally.
"OBEC and Microsoft have enjoyed 10 years of collaboration for the betterment of Thailand's future under Partners in Learning," said OBEC Senior Advisor in Technology for Teaching and Learning Anek Ratpiyapaporn. "The 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan states that Thailand's top priority is to develop its human resources through improvement in education. Microsoft's support will ensure that educators and students are empowered with solutions and platforms that are aligned with their needs.
"This initiative will play a key role in our preparations for ASEAN Economic Community integration and drive the development of 21st century skills that are vital to the Smart Thailand 2020 strategy, whose key objective is to foster sustainable national growth and raise the standard of living through technology," Ratpiyapaporn added.
Conceived in 2003, Partners in Learning is a global Microsoft program that fosters innovative use of technology in education to help students and teachers around the world maximize their potential. So far, the program has provided training to more than 12 million educators and enhanced the learning experience for 200 million students in 119 countries. In Thailand, Partners in Learning has reached out to more than 164,000 teachers and 8 million students across 39,000 schools nationwide.
Haresh Khoobchandani, managing director of Microsoft (Thailand), said, "Microsoft has always seen technology as an important enabler of quality education, and this memorandum of understanding underscores our long-term commitment to Thailand and our vision of a holistic transformation of the Thai education system. Throughout Microsoft's 20 years in Thailand, we have invested $5.2 million (156 million THB) in Thai education as part of our vision of We Make 70 Million Lives Better. This dedication to education in Thailand is part of our global YouthSpark initiative to help young people capture opportunities, to learn skills, to prepare for the jobs of the future or even to start their own business.
"Two million university students and staff members are already taking advantage of cloud technology through Office 365 for education, and this landmark partnership with OBEC will increase the number of users to more than 10 million," Khoobchandani continued. "This enables schools and universities across Thailand to create massive repositories of knowledge that can be accessed and shared anywhere, any time, and on any device in a secured and trusted environment."
Under this memorandum of understanding, schools under OBEC jurisdiction will gain access to Office 365 for education, giving students and teachers alike the ability to create, connect and collaborate on an advanced and enterprise-ready cloud platform that is safe and secured. A 2013 IDC study commissioned by Microsoft found that proficiency with Microsoft Office applications ranks high at No. 3 of the top 20 in-demand skills globally. The study also found that 29 percent of high growth or salary occupations call for Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office-related skills, such as word processing, spreadsheets and financial reporting.
Microsoft YouthSpark is a companywide, global commitment to provide young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship, and Partners in Learning is a key element of this commitment that helps students and teachers benefit from Microsoft's academic and technical resources. These include free educational materials through the Microsoft IT Academy, various teacher and school development programs, access to professional-class development tools and technical guidance through the Microsoft DreamSpark program. They will also be able to benefit from tech startup support through the Microsoft BizSpark program, and opportunities to showcase their creativity and expertise in the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition.
"With young people between the ages of 15 and 24 forming the largest segment of the unemployed in Thailand,1 there is a pressing need to drive transformational change in education," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Education for Microsoft. "The full impact of Microsoft's partnership with OBEC is not simply in the millions of students that will have access to the most compelling and engaging technology for education and collaborative learning. It will be seen in how we are able to effectively integrate technology into the classroom to help prepare these students with the skills of the future."
Wednesday's announcement surpasses Microsoft's previous largest cloud education partnerships — a partnership with the Sao Paulo State Department of Education to provide Office 365 to more than 4 million students; the 7.5 million Office 365 seats that the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) deployed across 11,500 technical colleges and institutions in India; and the 4.5 million seats that the Catholic International Education Office deployed globally in 2012.
The memorandum of understanding between Microsoft and OBEC will cover a five-year period from June 1, 2014, to May 31, 2019.
For more information on Partners in Learning and Office 365 for education, visit http://www.pil-network.com, http://www.pil.in.th and http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/academic.
About Microsoft (Thailand) Limited
Established in 1993, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited provides world-class software that is easy to use and localized to suit the local market's needs. It also has a compelling and consistent platform to build powerful business solutions that can scale from a notebook computer to a mainframe – class multiprocessor systems using Microsoft technology. For further information, please visit the Microsoft (Thailand) website at: http://www.microsoft.com/thailand.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
1 International Labour Organization, Unemployment distribution by sex and age, Thailand (2012)
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