New Strategic Partnership Launched between the British Council and Microsoft
09 November 2011
The British Council is pleased to announce a new five-year partnership with Microsoft aimed at improving quality and access in education and training around the world. Today we launched the first project in this new partnership at Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Global Forum 2011, in Washington DC.
The project will provide teachers and learners across Africa with the skills they need to live and work in a global economy. Over the next two years, the British Council and Microsoft will each invest $1 million in the project, plus staff and in-kind resources.
“I welcome our new partnership with Microsoft which will enable us to create opportunities for millions of educators and students around the world,” said Martin Davidson, Chief Executive, British Council, an international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations. “By working together to harness technology for education and training, we can make a powerful contribution to preparing young people throughout the world for life and work in the 21st century.”
The project will build 80 digital hubs at schools across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria, and provide a cascade model of professional development for teachers and school leaders. For each digital hub, teachers will be trained in leadership and innovative teaching practices, including how technology can support teaching and learning, and help students become global citizens. Those teachers will then in turn train other teachers, who will work together to disseminate their newfound skills through their own schools and communities.
The digital hubs in schools will be used for teaching and learning during the day, and by the wider community for skills training afterhours. Where schools are off the grid, the digital hubs will be supported by solar power and long range Wi-Fi.
The project expects to train over 20,000 school leaders and teachers, and provide over 100,000 learners and communities with digital access, while promoting literacy throughout the region.
”This is about equipping young people with the skills that will serve them throughout their lives: leadership, self-confidence, creativity, ambition, and a desire to connect and contribute to the wider world”, said Joe Lemaron, Project Manager.
The partnership between the British Council and Microsoft builds on both organizations’ complementary expertise in education, technology and cultural relations. Launching the partnership, British Council Trustee Claire Ighodaro CBE said: “I am delighted that the first project in the new British Council – Microsoft partnership will happen in Africa, where we have the experience and connections to work effectively with educators and leaders on the ground to really make a difference.”
The project was inspired by similar work already underway in Africa by the British Council, where 40 digital hubs have already been established in 17 countries and a commitment made by Microsoft and other partners at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010 to build labs in 40 schools in Haiti.
About the British Council
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in over 100 countries in the arts, education and English and in 2010/11 we engaged face to face with 30 million people and reached 578 million. We have 6,800 staff worldwide. Our total turnover in 2010/11 was £693 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was £190 million. The remainder was generated through trading activities such as English language teaching. For every £1 of taxpayer money invested we earn £2.65 in additional income. For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org