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IT powerhouse empowers African youth

MICROSOFT Global Vice President of EducatioJOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MICROSOFT Global Vice President of Education, Anthony Salcito, has pledged the multinational technology company’s obligation to empower youth in the continent with skills and resources to succeed in the digital world.

Speaking in Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday, Salcito said technology played a crucial role in the modern workplace and at home by making employees and students more productive in their personal and professional tasks.

As such, he said, globally, the American company had committed to investing $75 million (more than R1 billion) over the next three years in community programmes to increase access to computer science education for all youth, especially for those from under-represented backgrounds.

“More and better education, combined with early access to the tools and skills used in the workplace, are proven to help create healthier communities, economies and workers who are ready to enter the workforce,” said Salcito.

“At Microsoft we are committed to empowering this next generation of workers by building skills, providing access to technology, and giving young people tools to support their learning.”

In South Africa, educators are seen facing a variety of challenges ranging from planning and organising their day effectively to fit a broad range of activity into a limited amount of time through to utilising technology to help make lessons more accessible and entertaining for students.

Schools face a rate of less than 45 percent when it comes to participation in Maths and Science and a whopping 60 percent of schools have no computer lab facilities.

However, there are initiatives Microsoft has initiated locally to reverse the trend.

This included the MIE (Microsoft Innovative Educator) expert programme to help local teachers to integrate technology into their lesson plan.

Through the Student to Business programme, the company is partnering to create over 1 500 jobs through internships while the AppFactory programme trains interns to develop over 800 locally relevant apps.

Microsoft is sponsoring a year-long exhibition at Sci-Bono in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

“These initiatives will help us create a bridge to employment and financial independence,” said Zoaib Hoosen, Managing Director of Microsoft South Africa.

– CAJ News

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