In an effort to help higher education institutions support economic stimulus efforts and work-force development strategies, Microsoft Corp. has committed up to $50 million in higher education resources, training and certifications through the Microsoft Education Alliance Program agreement. As part of the agreement, the company will provide resources and tools for short-term work-force training and higher education enhancements. The announcement was made at the Education Leaders Forum, a one-day forum jointly organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Microsoft, where more than 150 ministers of education, senior education officials and policy advisors are discussing how governments and universities can take full advantage of e-technology's potential to address the current knowledge and skills challenges facing higher education. Earlier this week, Microsoft and UNESCO announced a joint task force to help higher education institutions worldwide meet the growing challenge of supporting economic stimulus efforts and work-force development strategies. The UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher Education and ICT will develop a strategic plan of action to identify how ICT can be used by governments as a catalyst for change. Microsoft's $50 million commitment is supporting the mission of the new task force and enabling the implementation of critical UNESCO and Microsoft educational resources.
Given the current economic crisis, governments are faced with designing and funding enhancements to higher education in order to support and spur economic recovery. With its commitment of resources and tools, available through the Microsoft Education Alliance Program agreement, Microsoft aims to make it easier for governments and the public education sector to bring ICT access and skills to the next generation of students and teachers.