By Emeka Aginam
No fewer than Forty-two African schools have been identified in the 2016 Microsoft Showcase School program by the software giant. Microsoft Showcase Schools are seen as experts in personalised learning, amplified by 1:1 deployments that effectively use Microsoft solutions (e.g. Surface, Office 365 Education, Office Mix, OneNote, Skype) to enable anywhere, anytime education for all students. Over the next two years, the Showcase Schools will take on the role of technology in education advisors in the education reform of their countries.
They will be tasked with finding new pedagogical approaches to complement infrastructure and ICT deployments using Microsoft solutions. Accordingly, the schools have been identified as experts in personalised learning, enhanced by Microsoft technologies, and will now take on an advisory role in education reforms in their countries. The program is an initiative that highlights innovative leadership and teaching across globally recognised schools.
Schools were nominated by Microsoft in each region in collaboration with key stakeholders including education experts. Showcase School leadership teams make up a professional community that recognises and amplifies the use of technology to drive transformation and efficiencies in education. They have a passion for modernising schools and ensuring students use technology that helps them prepare for their future.
In addition to the Microsoft Showcase Schools, The Microsoft Associate Showcase Schools programme is a whole-school approach to transformation. These schools have demonstrated innovative teaching and learning, and are shaping plans for improvement. Microsoft plans to continue partnering with like-minded partners, organisations and education stakeholders to identify more schools and double the number of Showcase Schools every year.
This year, schools from Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia were named Microsoft Showcase Schools. Warren H.A La Fleur, Regional Manager, Education Industry for West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands at Microsoft, is pleased with the high intake of African schools in the 2016 Microsoft Showcase program. “The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region this year boasts the second highest intake, following Western/Central and Eastern Europe.
“This despite all the challenges we face on the continent,” he comments. “At Microsoft we are committed to ensuring youth have the skills and access to technology they need to get the best education possible. Technology alone can’t transform education, but it is an accelerator when embraced by educators who see its value”. “It is our goal that in five years’ time every African country with a national technology deployment will have a core ‘army’ of 21st century-ready schools, which will model new competencies and accompany other schools in their journey to transformation. Our current 42 Showcase Schools are evidence that this goal can be achieved.”, La Fleur, explained.