Partners in Learning
Education in India is, undoubtedly, one of the imperatives for the country and the
investment made over the years has contributed hugely in propelling India’s growth
in the knowledge economy. The combination of quality content, partnerships, training,
and broad access—complemented with the most appropriate technology to author, distribute,
teach, and connect—can transform education.
Microsoft has always seen education as a priority area and believes that technology
offers new educational possibilities that can help empower both teachers and students.
Partners in Learning works in association with governments and education leaders
around the world at the national, state and local levels to deliver a portfolio
of professional development, curricula, tools and resources designed to advance
21st century teaching, learning and digital inclusion that improves not just the
earning outcomes for every student but also enhances their skill development. This
ties in very well with India’s goals of enhancing education and employability through
skill building using ICT. Partners in Learning works to integrate technology into
daily teaching, learning, and research and aims to deliver on the following three
focus areas in India:
- Empowering leadership
- Providing access to technology and quality content
- Building strong communities
The initiatives include
- Project Shiksha
The first phase of Partners in Learning was Project Shiksha in India,
where over 741,000 government school teachers have been trained
so far, impacting a total of more than 36 million students across
the country; and a few teachers after undergoing training have gone beyond classroom
and impacted the community reaching out to 15 million citizens.
Under this programme, Microsoft India has partnered with 12 state governments
(including Maharashtra, Uttaranchal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar,
Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh) to set
up 14 Shiksha academies and operate close 100 DIETS
so far to offer a spectrum of education resources.
The reason Project Shiksha has managed to be so successful is that apart from establishing
IT academies, where Microsoft set up the infrastructure for the state governments
for training teachers on a BOOT model, there are also tie ups with various state-run
District Institutes for Education and Training (DIETs), which have
helped spread the reach of the program; and tie-ups with educational institutions
like the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Madarsas,
and other government schools have broadened the reach. Apart from the partnerships,
the fact that Shiksha has a pre-service delivery model as well as post-school model
helps increase the impact in each of the states where it is present.
- Project Shiksha Pragati
Project Shiksha Pragati is designed to assist schools in implementing a professional
development model that can enhance standard-based instruction by enabling teachers
to use engaging, technology rich learning activities. The project also focuses on
training leaders amongst teachers to serve as coaches who assist their peers in
identifying ways that technology can strengthen classroom curriculum for effective
teaching. Coaches also help their colleagues in developing necessary skills to successfully
integrate technology into the classroom.
- Innovative Teachers Portal
Microsoft India has launched www.innovativeteachers.com
which offers the unique opportunity of collaboration with peers to the teachers.
This enables them to share resources for lesson plans, tools to enable greater access
to technology and various professional development tools. The network has more than
4 million members in 107 countries, making it the largest educators’ network in
Partners in Learning aims to reach out to 250 million teachers and students globally
by 2013. This will include 10 million teachers who will actively connect and contribute
to the PiL network, thereby reaching thousands of other educators. These efforts
are also aimed at achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of ensuring
that every child has access to a basic course of primary education by 2015.