Bill Gates couldn’t make it to Calcutta, but his multi-million dollar educational dream is poised to touch base in town.
Global technology major Microsoft will set up a teachers’ training academy in the city. The company representatives have conveyed to the state government that Calcutta will have “one of the first three training academies” in the country.
“The training academy is part of the company’s $20-million Shiksha Project, which Bill Gates announced during his India visit late last year. Microsoft representative from Redmond, Karishma Kiri, met us on Monday to discuss the project. We are, indeed, happy that the company has set its sights on Calcutta,” said state IT secretary D.P. Patra on Thursday. Webel, the state government’s nodal IT agency, will be Microsoft’s Bengal partner in the project.
To set up the academy — the company’s first brick-and-click investment in the state — Microsoft has asked for 3,000 sq ft of built-up space from the government. The other infrastructural requirements for the project, software, hardware and peripherals, and all operational obligations, will be Microsoft’s responsibility.
Rajiv Kaul, managing director, Microsoft Corporation India, while declining to name the three states where the company will set up such training academies in Phase I of Shiksha, said on Thursday: “We are working closely with the state of West Bengal in the realm of e-governance... We are committed to further strengthen this relationship and deepen our engagement with the state, especially on the education front. We are currently evaluating all available options.”
According to Patra, experts from Microsoft will train permanent teachers in government-owned schools in Microsoft technologies at the academy.