Microsoft to bring digital transformation to Cambodia’s education sector

(From left): Don Carlson, Education Lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific, Rena Chai, Marketing & Operation Lead, South East Asia New Markets, His Excellency William Heidt, US Ambassador, Cambodia, His Excellency Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Cambodia

Microsoft has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cambodia’s Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MoEYS) that will see the deployment of an all-inclusive “education transformation framework” that aims to transform learning experiences for students and teachers alike via technology, programs and services.

Aligned with MoEYS’ Education vision 2020, the MoU covers three priorities: (1) build leader and educator capacity for digital transformation, (2) support educators with curriculum and content to impart technology skills to students, and (3) empower educational institutions to be effective and efficient through technology.

Under the agreement, three programs will be piloted with selected schools in Phnom Penh between December 2016 and April 2017 with a focus on building educator capacity for transformation, a model classroom, and teaching with technology, said Rena Chai, marketing and operations lead for SEA New Markets at Microsoft.

“Our collaboration today with the MoEYS will help teachers and education leaders by providing them with the right tools and training needed to equip students with the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] skills needed in an increasingly technology-driven global economy,” Chai said.

The project will be supported by a number of Microsoft Education initiatives, such as the Microsoft in Education resource and professional development for teachers; the Microsoft Innovative Educator Programme (MIE) for educators who are committed to effectively using technology in the classroom; and Microsoft Digital Literacy, an online educational program to introduce learners, who are new to technology, to the fundamentals of computing and technology.

“In line with our Higher Education Vision 2020 and beyond, our ministry is working with Microsoft to develop technology skills, build teachers’ capabilities, and promote STEM education to provide students with an opportunity to access quality high education programs and develop the technical skills needed to contribute fully to national development and labor market needs,” said Education, Youth and Sport Minister Hang Chuon Naron.

According to a recent Microsoft survey, Driving Transformation in Education, the biggest factor needed to successfully transform teaching and learning experiences was educator skill sets – in particular, being trained to optimize technology in the classroom. One in three respondents said they are currently unable to equip students with the skill sets needed to succeed in the future workplace with their current school curriculum and ways of teaching.

“Technology cannot replace great teaching but it can make good teachers even better,” said Don Carlson, education lead for Microsoft Asia Pacific. “As such, our approach in education is to work with educators, students, and school leaders on their journey to redefine learning and enable youth to successfully transition from education to employment. With high youth unemployment rates in the Asia-Pacific region, we recognize this continues to be one of the main obstacles facing young people. As such, it is important for us to equip educators with the right tools, enable access to training and bridge the technological challenges which they are facing to drive transformation and learning efficiencies for impactful outcomes.”

The MoU builds on another MoU with Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce signed in August to use trusted technology to grow the economy and improve trade and development. The agreement covered technology training and education for the Microsoft Khmer Translator Hub, joint-education campaigns on cybersecurity and malware threats, support for the Cambodia ICT ecosystem and talent development.

Additionally, Microsoft worked with the Ministry of Education to launch the Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) program in partnership with local non-governmental organization STEM Cambodia to cultivate technology skills among youths by providing a platform to grow student communities focused on technology, access the latest technology tools and resources.

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