Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Microsoft & 100 NGOs Partner Globally to Close Computer Science Education Skills Gap


Today, Microsoft Philanthropies announced grants for over 100 nonprofit organizations in 55 countries, including NASSCOM Foundation and QUEST Alliance in India. The grants are a component of the $75M commitment Microsoft made to increase access to computer science education around the world through Microsoft YouthSpark, as announced by Satya Nadella last year. 

Microsoft is partnering with these nonprofits by providing cash grants, content and other resources they need to bring computational thinking and problem-solving skills to young people in local communities, important building blocks to help them succeed in today’s tech-fueled economy.

“Computational thinking and problem-solving skills will be relevant to every job in the future,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Through our partnerships with nonprofit organizations around the world, we aim to empower all youth to prepare for this future with the foundational knowledge of computer science to dream and create the innovations of tomorrow.”

Here in India, the grant that Microsoft Philanthropies made to NASSCOM Foundation and QUEST Alliance will enable under-served youth to embrace computer science through developingcomputer programming curriculum and integrating IT and computer science training into current employability & entrepreneurship curriculum respectively.

NASSCOM Foundation Through the Code A Future project, NASSCOM Foundation will introduce and promote Computer Science to under-served youth and encourage them to pursue higher courses in advanced computing and leverage these skills for future employment. Nasscom will develop basic and advanced computer programming curriculum and partner with local organizations to deliver the training to 12,000 youth.

QUEST AllianceWith support from Microsoft YouthSpark, Quest Alliance will develop a toolkit focused on integrating IT and computer science training into current employability and entrepreneurship curriculum. The computer science modules will be customized for the Indian context and will include easy to understand classroom activities, work sheets, interactive peer engagements and video case studies. Instructor training and orientation materials will be included to ensure trainers are able to easily adopt methodologies and content, with continuous virtual support provided by QUEST through its online trainer support platform. The program aims to reach 20,000 youth with a special focus on reaching young women. All materials, approach and tools developed under this initiative will be scaled across QUEST and Microsoft India partners in order to build capacity of youth serving organizations to integrate computer science in existing employability & entrepreneurship programs for under-served youth.

Manju Dhasmana, Lead – Community Affairs at Microsoft India, said, “Microsoft is deeply invested in the success of India’s youth by empowering them in three core areas - education, employment, and entrepreneurship. We see our work with nonprofits as a partnership where we can bring to the table our resources and tech expertise to some of the organizations that are already making impact with young people in our community.”

Closing the computer science skills gap and reaching young people on a global scale is a multi-faceted challenge that cannot be solved by one organization or solution alone. Microsoft’s partnerships with nonprofit organizations mean that more young people around the world—particularly underserved communities, girls and ethnic and racially diverse populations-will have access to computer science education, helping build skills critical for future success.

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