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IT giant to train teachers
- Dispur signs MoU with Microsoft to improve education

Guwahati, June 13: Dispur signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft Corporation of India (Pvt) Ltd this evening to accelerate the adoption of information and communications technology (ICT) in schools.

The one-year alliance will focus on training 5,760 teachers to use information technology in classrooms to improve the quality of education in schools.

The MoU was signed by L.S. Changsan, director, Axom Sarba Siksha Abhijan Mission, and Ranbir Singh, country head (government engagements), Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd, in the presence of education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the state secretariat here.

Changsan said the teachers would be trained in batches of 20 to 25 for six days at six of the state-run DIETs (District Institute for Education and Training) at Mirza (Kamrup), Biswanath Chariali, Barpeta, Kokrajhar, Golaghat and Cachar. They have been selected in such a way that teachers won’t have to travel long distances for training.

“We will provide the logistics and infrastructure support for residential training of the teachers while Microsoft will provide the course content, trainers and evaluation to help empower our teachers with IT skills,” Changsan said.

Singh said the training would hone the teachers’ skills and help them to share knowledge and make the youths more employable.

“We will engage eight trainers, two as back-up, for the six DIETS. It’s a joint effort of Assam and Microsoft to improve teachers’ skills and teaching by creating more engaging and interactive classroom experiences. Through this collaboration, we hope to provide ICT-enabled education and aid the progressive transformation of education in Assam,” he added.

He said the MoU was neither a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative in the strictest sense nor a business proposition. “We are not making any money out of this project but if IT penetration increases we obviously stand to gain in the long run,” Singh said when asked what the company stands to gain monetarily from the alliance.

Assam is among the 17 states of the country to have become part of the Microsoft’s Partners in Learning programme launched in 2008.

“So far we have trained 7,08,017 government school teachers in Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, among others,” Singh said.

Assam is the first in the Northeast to join this programme. “We will see how it goes in Assam before looking at other states in the Northeast because there is the question of resources,” he added.