In a landmark move, Microsoft Nepal has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 56 tertiary institutions to help equip IT, engineering and management undergraduates with relevant skills when they enter the workforce. The project aims to reach over 69,000 students in two years, the majority of whom would be based in the capital city Kathmandu.
Under the programme, the colleges and universities will establish facilities called Microsoft Innovation Center Nepal Innovation Cells (MICNICs), on their premises to provide all students and faculty members with access to the latest Microsoft technologies. These resource centres, which will be equipped with Microsoft software for free, will be used for skills training, employment and mentoring programmes.
In addition, two faculty members from each institution will be nominated to be part of the MIC Nepal Expert Educators programme, launched for the first time in this country. Already in operation in other places such as Thailand and Bangladesh, the programme will establish a national circle for educators to share teaching methodologies, pedagogical knowledge and courseware.
The idea for having a consortium of tertiary education institutions had been germinating for a year, and is a response to the technological development and socio-economic changes that are rapidly widening the gap between industry and education.
“Changes in IT-related fields are accelerating: what’s new now may sizzle out by the time the new year rolls around. So this makes it hard for the curriculum to keep pace,” said Surendra Subedi, Director, Kathmandu BernHardt College. “By deepening our relationship with Microsoft, the students get to have regular updates from and interactions with software developers, researchers and other Microsoft professionals. This will help them gain a good footing in real-world needs even before they join the workforce.”
Country Director at Microsoft Innovation Center Nepal Allen Bailochan Tuladhar emphasised that the programmes are open to all, regardless of gender, race, creed or religion, saying, “Inclusivity is an important value of Microsoft, and is an essential component for Nepal to attain progress for all.” He also stressed the importance of including more women in this programme due to their lack of meaningful participation in employment related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM fields. The low enrolment rate of women in colleges in Nepal is also a challenge to address.
Participating institutions are currently selecting two students each (one male and one female) to represent the school in future Microsoft discussions. For more information on how to become a Microsoft Student Partner in Nepal, please click here.