This is an excerpt of a blog post by César Cernuda, President of Microsoft Asia Pacific, on the Asia Pacific News Centre here.
Access to technology and well-trained teachers is key to closing the gap between the educational ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ across Asia.
The gaping opportunity divide in Asia means the very best performing education systems in the world are sitting next to some of the very worst. It seems the divide isn’t as wide as it is deep.
We simply cannot educate tomorrow’s leaders with tools and practices from the past. Students need 21st century skills to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. They need technology.
That said, technology is not the most critical part of a quality education. The number one indicator of student success is effective teachers. Teachers are the shepherds of learning – without them, young students cannot navigate the complex combination of 21st century skills expected by employers, such as communication, collaboration, creative thinking and problem-solving.
At Microsoft, we want to help address the education issues that plague so many Asian countries. While we are investing heavily in getting the essential technology into the hands of students, at the forefront of our philanthropic philosophy is the importance of teachers in transforming education outcomes.
This is why we have invested so much in our youth and education programs, and it is heartening to see so many lives being changed. In this region, more than 42 million teachers and students have been empowered through our Partners in Learning Program; over 26 million future achievers inspired by our YouthSpark initiative; and more than 100,000 students energised through the Imagine Cup technology competition.
By working with our 100,000 partners across Asia Pacific, our aim is to collaborate with governments, NGOs and institutions to equip every teacher with the tools and resources they need to train their students with the 21st century skills they need for work and life.
Our efforts are all about partnering in every single country to make the educational system a complete success. I feel quite passionately that an educated population is the one resource that increases in value as it increases in size.