Tuesday 04 December 2012

The British Council has signed two new agreements with Microsoft that aim to improve educational opportunities and digital access for millions of teachers and learners in developing economies around the world. Both new agreements will build on the achievements of the British Council and Microsoft’s existing partnership, ‘Badiliko’, a $2 million joint project that has built digital hubs in six countries across sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria), providing professional development through a cascade model to up to 20,000 teachers. The expanded partnership will reach more people, have a larger impact, and create greater opportunities and trust around the world.

Under the first new agreement, the British Council and five other global NGOs will work with Microsoft to develop and deliver professional development for teachers and school leaders in emerging markets, as part of Microsoft’s ‘Shape the Future’ strategy. Microsoft will invest up to $75 million in this professional development initiative over the next three years, to ensure that computer technology is effectively integrated into school syllabuses and teacher training. The British Council will apply its world-renowned experience in teaching and learning to guarantee that transitional economies are able to make the best use of the new software within their education systems.

Dr Jo Beall, British Council Director of Education and Society said “We hope these new partnerships will enable a step-change for education around the world. Through working together, we can harness our long-developed expertise in helping young people find new educational opportunities and bring that experience to many, many more people.

The second new agreement is a collaboration between the British Council, Microsoft, Intel and World Vision on a programme to introduce digital technology to schools in Africa – ‘Spark a Child’s Digital Future’: www.worldvision.org/bethespark. This project will begin with a pilot in ten primary schools in Kenya, with plans to scale up to other African countries. The British Council will have an equal stake in the governance of the partnership and will lead on teacher training and government relations, leveraging its deep experience of working in these areas in sub-Saharan Africa. World Vision, the world’s largest NGO, will lead fundraising for the project, and will share on the ground expertise in running the education programme. Microsoft and Intel will offer digital expertise, software and training.

“Nearly one billion young people today face an opportunity divide – a gap between those who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not,” said Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education for Microsoft. “We firmly believe in the power of technology to help close this gap. But we can only achieve our ambitions with the help of these kinds of partnerships. Together, we can help bring digital access to youth and support to educators in developing countries worldwide.”

“We recognise that once a child’s basic needs are met, digital skills development can be vital in securing economic growth,” said Rich Stearns, President, World Vision US. “This programme is essential in helping children in developing countries succeed in a global world.”

“We are pleased to deepen our collaboration with the British Council, Microsoft and World Vision” said Brian Gonzalez, Director of K-12 Education, Intel Corporation.  “We look forward to transforming the educational experience for students in Africa through the Spark a Child’s Digital Future program.” 

The Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed at Microsoft’s Partners in Learning Global Forum 2012 in Prague, Czech Republic.

For more information on Spark a Child’s Digital Future, please visit www.worldvision.org/bethespark.

WHO: The British Council, Microsoft, and other partners World Vision and Intel.

WHAT: Two new Memorandums of Understandings (MOU) signed between the British Council and Microsoft to improve digital education in developing nations through professional development for educators, and through ‘Spark a Child’s Digital Future’, a programme to introduce Infomation and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools in Africa.

WHERE: Microsoft will invest up to $75 million in emerging markets globally, through ‘Shape the Future’. The ‘Spark a Child’s Digital Future’ pilot programme begins in Kenya.

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact:

Alexandra Dimsdale

Manager, Press and Communications USA


+1 202 588 7837

About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

We work in more than 100 countries, and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of £739 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%.  We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.