The annual Microsoft in Education Global Forum is being held for the first time in the Middle East. The audience of over 500 includes innovative educators, school leaders, partners and government officials from nearly 40 countries across the Middle East, Africa and India.
During this event Microsoft emphasised the importance of leveraging technology to build employable skills for youth preparing them for a stronger future and career. During the keynote, Microsoft announced the availability of Office 365 ProPlus to students, faculty and staff at no charge igniting some of the best cloud solutions available in education today.
“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, and we are committed to helping them to achieve more throughout their lives. But they will not reach their full potential if the public and private sectors don’t work together to create opportunities that make a real impact toward improving youth employability and entrepreneurship, education, digital inclusion in order to stir creativity and innovation,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft. “Our commitment to the youth in the MEA region underpins many of our regional programs, such as YouthSpark, which have the goal of improving access to technology, boosting skills and igniting innovation.”
“In order for youth to overcome existing economic challenges and for countries to attain knowledge based economies, the overall mindset in the region needs to be changed to allow technology to be embraced fully as a catalyst for progress. Our economies have no future if the youth are not empowered with the right tools that can address current and future challenges. We appreciate Microsoft’s initiatives for taking steps to facilitate these groundbreaking changes,” said His Excellency Marwan Ahmad Al Sawaleh, Undersecretary, UAE Ministry of Education.
Microsoft claims that it has been offering a benefit to schools that allows them to provide Office to their students at no cost. Millions of students have already downloaded the latest version of Office to use both at school and home, according to the company.
On February 23, 2015, Microsoft will allow millions of other eligible students around the world to sign up for Office 365 ProPlus and download free Office from their schools. Eligible students will be able to sign up for Office 365 ProPlus and install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access on up to 5 PCs or Macs and mobile devices including Android, iPad and Windows tablets. In addition, they’ll also have access to OneDrive and Office Online.
“We’re committed to making the technology needed for college and career readiness available to as many students as possible – an imperative in today’s market. Bringing the Office 365 ProPlus benefit to MEA helps to close the opportunity gap between those who have access to the skills and training they need to be successful, and those who do not,” added Salcito.
The Microsoft in Education Global Forum will highlight technological strategies and solutions that must be adopted in markets such as the Middle East and Africa that are currently experiencing a youth bulge. Microsoft has partnered with 15 of the top global and regional Education technology partners including Intel, Promethean, All Prints, Sayegh, McGraw Hill, Pearson, Data Flow International, K12Net Atlas, EduWare, BrainPOP, SteelCase, Oxford University Press, NetSupport and ITWorx Education.