Zagreb, 4th November 2013 – Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft Corporation, and Željko Jovanović, Croatian Minister of Science, Education and Sport, today signed the Education Transformation Agreement (ETA) aimed at improving the quality of the Croatian educational system and encouraging excellence and innovation of teachers and students. The agreement initiatives are in accordance with the existing educational curriculum and they complement it with modern IT tools and solutions. As part of the agreement, approximately 550,000 students and teachers in Croatia will receive free use of Office 365. By signing this agreement, Croatia is joining the countries that have already provided its teachers and students with world class cloud-based, proven productivity tools.
“With stronger implementation of new technologies, especially information technology, we will enable the transformation of Croatian education, encourage innovation and the development of skills necessary for employment in the 21st century and thus increase Croatia’s competitiveness in the global market,” said Željko Jovanović, Minister of Science, Education and Sport, during the signing. “The main objective of the agreement is to train of teachers and holders of educational processes. This agreement supports the strategy of the Government, which is working to build an excellent educational system, aligned with the needs of society. We need to be innovative and competitive, and the only way we can achieve this is by offering equal quality of education that is available to everyone, while the use of modern technology has an important role in it.”
This ETA also includes a number of other initiatives including “Partners in Learning” which offers opportunities for teachers to share experiences and create communities of practice with a global association of educators from 115 countries, and “Microsoft DreamSpark” which provides professional-level developer and designer tools for modern applications to students. Croatian students will also receive access to numerous benefits including Microsoft software, reference materials, training, and privileged information about future job opportunities through the “Microsoft Student Partner Program”. These are only a few of numerous initiatives outlined in the ETA with common key strategy to transform learning, further innovation and develop 21st Century Skills and Employability in Croatia.
“We’ve always believed that technology creates opportunities for students to achieve their dreams. Today, we are passionate about delivering high-value activities through devices and services, that transform the classroom and help educators prepare students with the skills needed to enter the workforce,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft Corp. “Both Minister Jovanović and I agree that education transformation in Croatia is key to the country’s long-term success. The Education Transformation Agreement is a positive step forward in furthering the private and public sector collaboration needed to ensure Croatia’s youth are ready for the future.”
Ballmer’s visit to Croatia also included a number of meetings with individuals and companies in the public and private sectors. Prior to signing the ETA agreement, Ballmer met Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović to discuss Microsoft’s investments in Croatia and the strength of the company’s partner ecosystem in the country, which includes more than 1,100 companies. He also visited Croatian Telecom, where he signed an agreement of joint market collaboration with the company’s CEO Ivica Mudrinić. Microsoft and Croatian Telecom will collaborate on the development of services related to Windows devices and cloud services for private customers and businesses.
Further, Ballmer held a roundtable discussion with Microsoft partners in Croatia and thanked them for the quality of cooperation, stressing the importance of their support as Microsoft transforms into a devices and services company. He closed the day by speaking with approximately 50 students and teachers where he stressed the importance of continuing investments in education, IT and entrepreneurial skills, as prerequisites of a competitive national economy. Ballmer also greeted Ivan Vrkić, Mayor of Osijek, and announced the intention of opening the third Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) in Osijek, in order to further develop local software economy.
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