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March 2004
The Department of Education has recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Microsoft to upgrade the ICT skills of public school teachers in the Philippines. The agreement states a five-year initiative that aims to set up regional Microsoft IT Academy Centers.

These regional Microsoft IT Academy Centers will be the hub for training teachers on Microsoft technology. For the first year, DepEd and Microsoft plan to train at least 400 teachers who will then train 16,000 students in their respective schools.

"The teacher -his knowledge and experience- plays a crucial role in forming our students. Our partnership with Microsoft will to equip our students in the IT age with skilled instructors who will not only provide them with the needed information but to further inspire them to be potential leaders in technology," said Education Secretary Edilberto de Jesus.

The special five-year commitment is part of Microsoft's Partners in Learning program, a global initiative that recognizes the educational value of technology in schools. Global in scope and local in implementation, this initiative provides a significant investment of software and more than US$250 million in cash grants worldwide over the next five years to deliver information and communication technology skills training, tailored curriculum development, technical support, and research funds and resources to students and teachers. The Partners in Learning initiative also includes significantly lower prices for Microsoft's core educational desktop software for students and teachers.

Other than the Philippines, Brazil, India (State of Uttranchal) and Thailand have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to participate in Partners in Learning. More than 10 countries are expected to play a part in the initiative before the end of 2003.
"As an industry leader, Microsoft has a responsibility to help make technology more accessible and affordable to students and teachers," said Sam Jacoba, Microsoft Philippines Academic Affairs Director. "The Partners in Learning initiative aims to provide a sustained investment in technology and training to help students focus on learning and teachers focus on teaching."

According to Microsoft Philippines General Manager Kevin Hou, "We are excited about working with the government and our country's educators to address local challenges and continue advances in education and learning. This five-year agreement is part of our long-term investment in the Filipino youth and their potential to be the driving force of technology in the near future."

Microsoft President for Southeast Asia Ahmed Chami further stresses that, "With this program, our main goal is to empower teachers in the neediest schools by helping them get access to the latest computer technologies and offering them the training they need to make the most of these technologies. This is a long-term commitment from Microsoft. We want to help the schools that are in need to really establish a 21st century foundation for education and learning."

For more than 10 years, Microsoft has worked with the educational community to foster greater understanding of, and access to, technology tools and training. The Partners in Learning initiative is a long-term commitment to partner with governments, local schools and teachers to establish a foundation for continued advances in education and learning.
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