During the last couple of years, Microsoft has taken initiatives to facilitiate the education in Pakistan. These initiatives have been targetted at different leves of the education sector – from students, to teachers and even the Higher Education Commission (HEC)
Back in the year 2009, Microsoft launched the DreamSpark student programme, in collaboration with the job-hunting website, Rozee.pk. The programme was aimed at enabling college and university students to have access to Microsoft’s latest developer and designer tools – free of charage. The main objective behind DreamSpark was to allow students to explore their creativity by using these tools, and develop the skills, required to do well in the job market. Undre the programme, students, with college or university-provided computers and internet connection, could download several Microsoft products – like Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 (Express Edition), Microsoft VIsual Web Developer 2008 and Microsoft Virtual PC – using a free access key.
Microsoft’s Innovative Teachers Forum (ITF) Competition goes a step ahread of DreamSpark. It aims at encouraging the adoption and use of technology among teachers and faculty members of various schools across the country. It is part of Microsoft’s Learning programme, where teachers submit projects that are slected on basis of their innovation and teh tools used. Teachers are provided with the project requirements, preparation techniques and presentation formats. The winners from the local ITF participate in teh World Wide Innovative Education Forum (WWIEF).
Other education-related initiatives of Microsoft include the Imagine Cup, the MSDN Academic Aliisance and Microsoft Student Partner. Imagine Cup is one of the world’s largest student technology competition. Participants initiate projects inspired from global challenges, identified by the United Nations as the Millennium Development Gloals (MDGs). Last year, the Magno Touch from University of Engineering and Technology (UET), won in the Pakistan finals and represented Pakistan in the global finals held in Warsaw, Poland. This year, global finals will be held in the US.
The MSDN Academic Aliiance allows academic departments to make Microsoft software available for students. The goal of the programme is to make it easier and less expensive for academic institutions to obtain Microsoft developer tools, platforms, and servers for instructional and research purposes. The programme also tries to create a community of instructors, whwo can support the use of these technologies.
Microsoft Student Partner is an annual ceremony held to recognise students who demonstrate strong technical knowwledge of Microsoft developer technolgoies and who are willing to share that knowledge with fellowww students through campus groups, forums, clubs, online communities and various other technical activites.