Microsoft India has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uttaranchal government for the rollout of Project Shiksha.
The MoU is the first in a series of similar partnerships planned by Microsoft and underlines a joint commitment by Microsoft and Uttaranchal government towards accelerating IT literacy in the state.
'Project Shiksha: Empowering the future' was launched by Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corp, during his India visit in November 2002.
Project Shiksha seeks to deliver affordable software solutions, comprehensive training and curriculum leadership to enable students and teachers to realise their full potential.
"We believe that IT has unlimited potential in adding value to the education process that exists today, both in terms of course delivery as well as content. This belief underlines our flagship initiative Project Aarohi whereby we are providing IT education and training to students, teachers, government employees and other technical departments," N D Tewari, Chief Minister of Uttaranchal.
"Our MoU with Microsoft for Project Shiksha is another significant step in this direction. We are confident that initiatives like these will contribute tremendously towards accelerating IT literacy in the state and make Uttaranchal a model for other states to follow," said Tewari.
The MoU will entail the setting up and running of a Microsoft IT Academy Centre in Dehradun to facilitate teacher training, formulation and implementation of a comprehensive teacher training program, creation of a localised IT curriculum for students, rolling-out of teacher and student scholarship programs and setting up of a teachers portal.
As part of Project Shiksha, the Department of Information Technology of Uttaranchal will work together with Microsoft for the five-year MoU period to accelerate IT literacy for teachers and students throughout the state.
The state-of-the-art Microsoft IT Academy Centre which will be based in Dehradun and state-owned DIET centers will be used for imparting teacher training.
Microsoft will facilitate an end-to-end teacher training programme for promoting IT literacy and skills development. Teachers will receive both technology literacy training and technology curriculum integration training. Over 7,500 teachers will be trained over the five-year period.
Microsoft will develop and design student curriculum which will be ready to deploy for the session commencing June 2004. The curriculum based on NCERT guidelines will be approved by the state education department.
"We strongly believe that the application of IT to the education process is one of the most important areas today. IT helps create a connected learning environment and our initiative 'Project Shiksha: Empowering the future' is geared to deliver in this area by integrating IT in the education process," said Rajiv Kaul, managing director, Microsoft Corporation India.
Microsoft will also provide a teacher and student scholarship programme to recognise teacher and student achievement in IT proficiency and work with the government to set up a teachers portal that will encourage collaboration and information sharing across teacher communities.
With Project Shiksha, Microsoft is partnering with the government of Uttaranchal's flagship initiative Project Aarohi which is aimed towards providing IT education and training to government employees, teachers, students from primary to class 12 and other technical departments.
For Project Aarohi, Microsoft will assist in development and transfer of skills to teachers and will provide trainers and training material for the 'Train the Trainers Program' under which master trainers will be trained from the states District Institute of Education & Training.
These master trainers will thereafter train the students and teachers in a particular district.
Microsoft also has an e-governance partnership on with the Uttaranchal government.