By Emeka Aginam
About seventeen African countries including Senegal, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Angola, Zimbabwe, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Mauritius, South Africa, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Morocco are to benefit from Student Advantage programme just launched by the software giant Microsoft.
With student Advantage, qualifying institutions that subscribe to Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for all staff and faculties can also provide students with access to Office 365 ProPlus at no additional cost. Office 365 ProPlus includes all the familiar and full Office applications:Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, InfoPath and Lync,which can be locally installed on up to five devices and are available offline.
The vice President of Microsoft for education, Anthony Salcito who announced the capacity building initiative during his visit to Tunisia, said that, “Students use Microsoft Office every day to complete their most important academic tasks. Having access to Office 365 will allow them to not only become familiar with the technologies they will find in the workplace, but to also have skills that are now essential to employers,”
In an intimate meeting with students from various regions across the country, Salcito who unveiled the components and benefits of this new programme said that it was part of Microsoft’s commitment to participate in the modernisation of teaching methods and improve the employability of youth.
As part of his visit, Salcito also presented the opening speech at the second day of the African Ministerial Forum, which is focusedon the integration of ICT in education and training.
He explained the importance of integrating the tools of digital technology to develop a high quality education experience.
While emphasizing the important role Microsoft plays in this area as a strategic partner,giving students the opportunity to access modern learning tools, realise their potential and integrate successfully into business life, he said that, “Africa has huge potential for bolstering the economic development of the region.
The students are the main leaders of this mission, which is why it’s so important to give them the opportunity to acquire 21st century skills,” Salcito said. “Microsoftprovides teachers and students with access to new technologies, but also supports the integration, mastery and development of ICT for all school levels.”
The Forum was also an opportunity for Salcito to exchange ideas with the ministries of education from variousAfrican countries, as well as witness the signing of a partnership agreement between Microsoft and the Association for Education Development in Africa (ADEA).
This collaboration aims toshare knowledge and best practices around the integration of ICT in education, and promote expansion projects and initiatives that will accelerate the development of education and training in Africa.
Salcito also paid a visit to the president of Tunis –El Manar University, to reaffirm Microsoft’s commitments to promoting access to technology and supporting educational innovation.
Microsoft’sc orporate commitment to youth in Africa underpins many of itsregional programs, including YouthSpark and the 4Afrika Initiative. Both programs share common goals, including improving access to technology, boosting skills and igniting African innovation for the continent and the world.