Microsoft Thailand and the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to give 8 million students and 400,000 teachers across the nation free access to Microsoft 365 for education over the next five years which makes it the biggest cloud service partnership for Microsoft in education.
This new partnership is part of a bigger initiative called Partners in Learning which aims to foster innovative use of technology in education to help students and teachers around the world maximize their potential and was established by Microsoft in 2003.
Partners in Learning claims to have reached 200 million students and 12 million educators in 119 countries worldwide with the biggest partnerships being the one in Thailand, one in Brazil and one in India.
The partnership with Microsoft would ensure the government’s plans as part of its Smart Thailand 2020 strategy and to a larger extend the country’s preparation for ASEAN Economic Community integration according to Anek Ratpiyapaporn, OBEC Senior Advisor in Technology for Teaching and Learning
“This initiative will play a key role in our preparations for ASEAN Economic Community integration and drive the development of 21st century skills that are vital to the Smart Thailand 2020 strategy, whose key objective is to foster sustainable national growth and raise the standard of living through technology.”
Haresh Khoobchandani, managing director of Microsoft Thailand states
“This enables schools and universities across Thailand to create massive repositories of knowledge that can be accessed and shared anywhere, any time, and on any device in a secured and trusted environment.”
In Thailand young people aged 15 to 24 make the largest group of the unemployed according to a study carried out by the International Labour Organisation that Microsoft’s Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Education for Microsoft quotes.
Learning how to use Microsoft Office applications could boost their chances to find employment. According to the press release
A 2013 IDC study commissioned by Microsoft found that proficiency with Microsoft Office applications ranks high at No. 3 of the top 20 in-demand skills globally. The study also found that 29 percent of high growth or salary occupations call for Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office-related skills, such as word processing, spreadsheets and financial reporting.
Of course, we have to consider that in a country with an Internet penetration rate of around 30% only, the government’s responsibility to provide enough devices and high speed internet connections in schools and universities might even be more crucial as little to no learning and collaboration can take place outside the classroom due to the relatively poor infrastructure in Thailand.
- Thailand selects Office 365 for every student nationwide | PR Newswire
- List of countries by number of Internet users | Wikipedia