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Microsoft partners with local varsities to promote digital skills

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Microsoft partners with local varsities to promote digital skills

Microsoft headquarters, also known as the Redmond Campus, in Seattle, Washington state. PHOTO | AFP 

Microsoft, America’s giant computer company, will partner with local universities and colleges to promote the use of technology in teaching and learning.

The partnership will see improved use of ICT through the signing of education transformational agreements between public and private organisations.

The decision is seen as Microsoft’s attempts at deepening its presence in Kenya.

It is also geared towards developing professionals ready for the next wave of digital evolution in data science, artificial intelligence, mixed reality and application development and several other fields.

Officials from selected institutions would be trained by Microsoft experts to help bridge the gaps needed to ensure the production of employable graduates and entrepreneurs.

This week, senior Microsoft officials signed a memorandum of understanding with Mt Kenya University, one of its key partners in the project.

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“The new era of digital learning requires stakeholders — from government leaders, curriculum publishers, equipment manufacturers, technology providers and service organisations — aligned to enable change,” Mr Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft Corporation, said.

“The Microsoft education transformation agreement is the execution template for … a comprehensive public-private partnership to help enable positive teaching and learning changes.”

MKU Vice-Chancellor Stanley Waudo (left) said the institution’s open distance and e-learning programmes would benefit from the partnership and help attract and retain students.

“We have more than 16,000 students in the programmes. Our university operations are also recorded on technology platforms. The collaboration will help us develop a competitive advantage in ICT,” Prof Waudo said.

Microsoft has signed 100 similar agreements across the globe.

A team from the corporation also toured Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

It observed a number of innovations by students and encouraged them to exploit the available opportunities in ICT.

JKUAT Vice-Chancellor Victoria Ngumi said Microsoft is one of the critical partners in the institution’s laptops assembling programme.

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