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27 June 2006, Makati City - University organizations and education industry experts today pledged to team up and work with various Department of Education (DepED) institutions and other academic units to improve the Philippines' educational system during the launch of the Microsoft Varsity Program (MS Varsity).

The MS Varsity is a multi-phase endeavor that aims to create student ambassadors that will become educators and trainers in various schools that need their assistance. The program also seeks to foster learning and self-development through the integration of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in education.

"There is an urgent and glaring need to improve, appreciate and embrace learning with the incorporation of technology," Jess Huenda, Senior Education Program Specialist of the Department of Education, stressed. "The best kind of learning is only achieved with the proper tools and the support to learn through technology."

The initial stage of the program will be implemented by tapping 75 outstanding university and college organizations within the National Capital Region to be part of the program. The schools will then be represented by one ambassador to the team. Industry practitioners will train these would-be envoys of knowledge in three aspects, namely technical, business management, and education.

"Microsoft Philippines advocates cross-discipline learning; this is why we are integrating three different tracks in this program. Microsoft Varsity seeks to develop ambassadors as advocates of goodwill through teaching and helping people discover their own potentials," said Sam Jacoba, Microsoft Philippines' Director for Academic Affairs.
In the second phase, members will be molded to become student ambassadors of goodwill. During this stage of the program, the students will be trained to cascade their knowledge to other institutions in the most efficient and successful manner. When the ambassadors progress to the third and final phase, they become part of the Partners in Learning (PiL) program, a Microsoft global initiative which aims to enable a worldwide community of lifelong learners realize their full potential through technology.

"Microsoft Varsity is not only a way of developing our country's future leaders to be ambassadors. We are also providing them with an ideal setting where they can interact with their fellow students from other schools and organizations. This is a chance for them to learn best practices and actual experiences from the other participating organizations," said JV Wong, Microsoft Varsity Program Lead, and President and Trainer of People Ignite Organizational Development and Training, Inc., an implementing partner in this program.

The heartbeat of the program is shown in its three mantras, Ambassadorship, Outreach, and Innovation. MS Varsity's legacy would be the development of the student ambassadors, who have the passion to share their skills and knowledge with the less-fortunate students. The objectives, on the other hand, would be fulfilled when the ambassadors' training will be cascaded through outreach initiatives. Finally, the program also recognizes the value of education with the use of technology.

Microsoft Philippines has invested a significant amount of time, funding and resources to implementing various educational initiatives that are aligned with its vision of contributing to the overall improvement of the academic community of the country through empowering citizens and taking the lead in forming projects that support the growth of the community.
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