The Chennai edition of ‘Empowering Education’ event organized by PC Quest Magazine in collaboration with Microsoft on the theme “ Inspiring Students and Enabling Educators’ saw the participation of leading educators and administrators from prominent educational institutions in Chennai and Tamilnadu.
In his keynote address, Ajit Prasad Jain of the University of Madras set the tone and context by stressing the fact that the education delivery to students needs to undergo a radical shift with the infusion of ICT solutions. He talked about how he was able to leverage various Microsoft products including Office 365 and Yammer and the transformation it has ushered in.
Dr.Vinnie Jauhari, Director, Education Vertical at Microsoft India, walked through the company’s thought leadership role in the education space and how it is enabling institutions across India by delivering state of the art products that are revolutionizing the overall education delivery dynamics with a judicious blend of digital technologies. “ With ‘engaging learning’ methodologies, the education sector is embracing digital transformation and transitioning itself to the digital age,” said Dr.Jauhari.
Meanwhile Ashwini Kumar, Education Senior Solution Specialist, Azure- Microsoft deep dived into the tools available from Microsoft and how Microsoft Azure is the apt platform to address the needs of the education sector.
Balendu Sharma from Microsoft touched on a very important point. He talked about the ‘accessibility’ features in Microsoft products and how a wide spectrum users with special needs can access all the features of MS solutions. Also, he elaborated on the AI enabled features and how MS Cortana is revolutionizing the way things are being delivered to the end users.
The event concluded with a panel discussion on “Designing 21st Century Learning”, in which various points including the licensing fees involved in accessing various MS products were discussed in detail. Since education is a unique vertical, panel speakers like Dr.Anita Manohar, Director, National Institute of Fashion Technology spoke about the challenges faced and also shared how technology has played an enabling role in her institution and led to tangible benefits.
Ajay Prasad Jain meanwhile urged the leaders in the education sector to rapidly embrace technology and drive operational efficiencies. He evangelised on a complete digitization of processes right from admission forms to paying the fees online to automation of core processes related to running the institutions.
The key takeaways from this conference relate to how Microsoft with an innovative slew of technologies is playing an enabling and transformative role in the education sector. It is helping to achieve better learning outcomes for the students and ushering in higher operational efficiencies.
MICROSOFT’S AGGRESSIVE EDUCATION PLAY
According to sources in Microsoft, through the last 12 years, Microsoft has been functioning as a key contributor in the area of education in Tamil Nadu. Over 48,000 teachers have been trained under the Microsoft Shiksha program, which empowers government teachers by integrating computing into their teaching, creating a fun and interactive learning atmosphere for their students. Several of these educators have been recipients of ICT awards at the State and National level as well. Through Project Saksham the company works with 15 universities in the region, enabling faculty to become ICT Champions who digitize their institutions, build technology-enabled content repositories and schedule online sessions.
In the last 10 years, Microsoft’s education, skill development, entrepreneurship and digital literacy programs have touched over 5 crore people across India. Project Shiksha, has trained over 780,000 teachers and reached over 3.9 million students in India since its launch in 2002, Project Saksham has conducted training for over 3,307 educators across 123 universities. 238 educators from India joined the Microsoft Innovative Educator program in FY17. They are part of the 7600-educator strong global MIE community and work closely with Microsoft to lead innovation in education. Microsoft has invested over INR 670 crore in not-for-profit programs such as YouthSpark, BizSpark, Imagine Cup and Partners in Learning in India in the last decade alone.