Enriching education for young people with Office 365: a social and economic value-ad

Where Europe succeeds, we succeed

Europe matters to us. For the past thirty years, it’s been our aim to help fuel the European economy with the programs, partnerships, products and services we deliver, through ourselves and others. Our investment has reaped significant return for thousands of new and existing businesses across the continent.

My job takes me to interesting places all over the world and today is no exception. Today will be a day I will not soon forget. You see, today I am within the extraordinary walls of the Vatican participating in an unprecedented announcement between the Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) and Microsoft. OIEC is working with Microsoft to support the modernization of over 200,000 Catholic schools worldwide enabling 43 million Catholic students with technology skills including Office 365 and other resources which will prepare them for a brighter future.

As we look at the impact of the global economic crisis on jobs and growth we are seeing an “opportunity divide” amongst young people – a gap between those who have the access to the technology skills and opportunities they need to be successful, and those who do not. Without this access to technology and information some students will be left behind by their ‘connected’ peers.

At Microsoft, our goal is to have real impact in the classroom and we are excited to take this journey with the global Catholic community. We deeply believe that when a student gains access to technology they can use technology to learn, to build the technology skills needed by employers today and to communicate more easily with others anytime and anywhere. Young people must be given access to technology to build a solid foundation of skills that they can use as a springboard to their future careers. We know that OIEC share our position that education and opportunity is available to everyone and this brings a focus and strength to the partnership we are celebrating today.

OIEC and Microsoft have aligned commitments that underscore the importance of putting technology in the hands of students as vital to closing the digital divide. Through the use of Microsoft technologies, students are learning real-life problem solving skills and getting hands-on experience of the latest technologies. In parallel, talented and well-supported educators are critical to ensuring students are better prepared to compete for the higher-skilled jobs. We also know the importance of community; community for teachers to share best-practices, community for schools to bring together school leaders, teachers, learners and their families.

These are the foundation stones of our partnership: building of community, provision of technology and access to curriculum and research tools to help teachers support their students in meeting the challenges of tomorrow.

I am convinced that the solutions to the many economic, social and environmental challenges facing the world today, will be solved by those amongst us and by future generations. And the partnership we celebrate today will provide the strong foundations to build these solutions and successes for generations to come.

We have the opportunity to change the dynamics of the modern Catholic classroom to begin an exciting era for the worldwide Catholic community and for Microsoft who is proud to be your partner.

To learn more about how Microsoft and the Catholic International Education Office are working together to modernize education, click here.

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