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Education Ministry Partners Microsoft to Launch DreamSpark

- Up-to-the-minute Software to All Island Schools through the MOE’s ‘1000 Schools of the Future’ Secondary Schools Development Programme –

General Manager of Microsoft Southeast Asia Jamie Harper hands over DreamSpark to Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardena

Photo Caption: General Manager of Microsoft Southeast Asia Jamie Harper hands over DreamSpark to Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardena. Also in the picture are Country Manager Microsoft Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne and Secretary to the Ministry of Education H.M. Gunasekera.

Colombo, 6th March 2012. In line with their vision of being an organization of value to the nation, Microsoft Sri Lanka today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education to provide local schools with DreamSpark, the latest of their developer and designer software, free of charge to schools across the island. The MoU signing at the Ministry of Education (MOE) was presided by the Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Education H.M. Gunasekera, General Manager of Microsoft Southeast Asia Jamie Harper, Country Manager of Microsoft Sri Lanka Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, R. Karunasiri Manager Monitoring & Evaluation and L.S. Senanayake (Mrs.) – Procurement Specialist of the Education of Knowledge Society Project (EKSP) of the Ministry of Education and other officials from Microsoft.

With DreamSpark, Sri Lankan students will have the opportunity to access and use up-to-the- minute developer, designer, and gaming software by Microsoft. The programme in its initial phase will be open to any student who uses IT tools in the pursuit of advancing their education, attending a school under the Ministry of Education’s 1000 Secondary Schools development programme.

Microsoft’s DreamSpark program, which aims to contribute towards the creation of a pool of IT developers who will emerge from secondary school level; is in line with the Education Minister’s programme to develop and upgrade 1000 of the best secondary schools across the country with the most up to date ICT facilities.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Minister of Education said “This partnership to launch Microsoft DreamSpark, is another step towards achieving our ‘1000 Secondary Schools Development programme’, which was inaugurated to develop secondary schools covering all districts of the country. With the launch of DreamSpark we will be improving the environment of our local schools and building a better skilled, knowledgeable and employable future generation for Sri Lanka in line with the Mahinda Chinthanaya vision of establishing a Human Capital foundation for the future Sri Lankan knowledge hub. Microsoft has always been a great contributor towards supporting our initiatives to uplift the education of this country and we have no doubt that DreamSpark would be as much a success as previous educational programmes we have partnered.”

The Minister added that under the secondary schools development initiative, every Sri Lankan child would have equal opportunity and the potential to become a professional with the required knowledge and special skills needed for the development of this country. “This development entails incorporating global education perspectives into the education system in line with growing global demands. Information Technology, Science, Mathematics, English, Aesthetic studies and Sports will form an integral part of the new educational vision and the launch of DreamSpark will be in line with that vision.”

Microsoft’s General Manager, Southeast Asia, Mr. Jaime Harper commending the Minister for his futuristic thinking said, “our ultimate goal is to shape the futures of students who have the potential to become IT developers, by providing them the exposure to software tools at the earliest possible opportunity. DreamSpark puts some of the world’s most powerful software in the hands of Sri Lankan students and educators, and they will now be able test their skills in developing innovative applications, games, tools and designs – another step towards helping the Government of Sri Lanka to create students and teachers who are ready to take up future ICT challenges.”

Microsoft Sri Lanka has been the largest contributor in Sri Lanka’s education sphere, with a focus on promoting global knowledge standards across the country’s student population. Microsoft has initiated many projects in partnership with the Ministry Of Education; to help create affordable or cost free solutions that allow students to experience IT. DreamSpark, the newest gift from the Company to students across Sri Lanka, would take Microsoft closer to reaching their goal of adding value to Sri Lanka, by creating a strong student population with a passion for IT in our island nation.