Despite Thailand being recognised as a great development success story, the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum ranked the country at the bottom of the ten ASEAN countries for educational quality. This points to the yawning gap in quality education for all Thai students.
With this challenge in mind, Microsoft Thailand and one of Thailand’s leading non-profits, Population and Community Development Association (PDA), decided to expand their long-standing partnership on empowering Thai youth, and inked a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in July.
As part of this partnership, Microsoft will introduce its development initiatives and productivity solutions to Mechai Pattana School in Buriram Province, in addition to a larger network of small community schools across Thailand, to advance the capabilities of Thailand’s young population.
Both teachers and students alike will gain access to productivity tools, such as Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Surface 2 tablets. In addition, the schools will be introduced to Microsoft Education Delivery (MED) and Nokia Data Gathering—mobile solutions that will equip isolated schools and communities with quality, up-to-date educational resources.
Through MED, teachers can use smartphones to access high-quality educational materials, download them to their devices and display them on screens without requiring an Internet connection. At the same time, teachers will make use of Nokia Data Gathering to collect rich field data through mobile phones. This allows them to supplement their teaching materials with additional resources in near real-time. Both solutions have proven results: MED is being used by 700,000 students and 16,000 teachers in 12 countries, and more than 300 organisations on four continents have adopted Nokia Data Gathering for work on social issues ranging from droughts to diseases.
The solutions will be cascaded to a network of small schools, and is expected to reach 46 schools by September 2015.
“Microsoft has always believed in a holistic approach to transforming education, and the PDA’s work in this regard has been nothing short of exceptional,” said Haresh Khoobchandani, Managing Director, Microsoft Thailand. “With this latest MOU, we hope to address the education gap by nurturing an academic environment in which Thai youth can grow and be empowered.”
This partnership between Microsoft Thailand and PDA is the latest initiative in “Making 70 Million Lives Better”, Microsoft’s strategy to support educational transformation in Thailand.