Microsoft has launched its Future Ready programme as part of its ongoing efforts to generate interest in computer science studies and close digital skills gap in youngsters in the Asia Pacific region.
Microsoft Future Ready is an annual exercise undertaken in partnership with non-profit organizations and schools, aiming at generating interest in computer science amongst young students and to train and empower teachers with the skills needed to teach computer science. The initiative was launched on December 3, simultaneously with the launch of Computer Science Education Week (December 3 to 9).
Under the programme, Microsoft will train more than 700,000 youth over the over the next one year, especially those hailing from underserved communities. Besides, the programme will also educate over 26,000 educators to teach high-quality and inclusive computer science across the Asia Pacific region.
Dr Daiana Beitler, Philanthropies Director for Microsoft Asia said educators were the most important factor to ignite students’ interest in computer science.
“However, more than one-third educators in Asia Pacific still feel that there is insufficient professional development for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), particularly in the area of computer science. That is why we are committed to providing educators with the required resources and training to upskill themselves in this area, in and out of school,” she said.
During the Computer Science Education Week, the Future Ready programme will arrange workshops for more than 2,000 educators to train them about how to conduct computer science classes engagingly, besides introducing more than 200,000 youth to the fundamentals of computer science.
Microsoft will also utilize games to further the interest of students in commuter science and coding. Launched in collaboration with Code.org, the game-based learning programme would use the game Minecraft to run a tutorial that introduces players to problems that would require leveraging important concepts such as loops and conditionals.
Other initiatives under Microsoft Future Ready include a competition titled Asia Pacific’s Next Top Coder, provision of cash grants and technologies to nonprofit organization to build capacity to teach quality computer science education to underserved youth, partnership with International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) Roboteam to expose underserved urban youth to computational thinking and foundational computer science concepts etc.
The Future Ready programme will also extend to Japan, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, In New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.