Microsoft Malaysia recently launched “The Spark of Transformation”, a collaborative partnership with the Malaysian government to empower local youth to realise their full potential by connecting them with greater education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. These new initiatives, launched in collaboration with Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), are aimed at closing the digital divide in Malaysia, as well as transforming the way people work and communicate.

The Spark of Transformation partnership was announced during a closed-door International Advisory Panel (IAP) Meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak and Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie.

 The three main components of the partnership are:

  • MY-Backpack, which provides children aged 7 to 17 with a “virtual backpack” of cloud-based digital tools powered by Microsoft® Office 365TM for educational purposes;
  • The National Digital Literacy programme for young people aged between 17 and 19; and
  • The MY-YouthSpark partnership to provide information and communication technology (ICT) training to improve employability of young adults, aged 19 to 24, and living in underserved, rural communities.

“Malaysia is one of the shining beacons of the Asia Pacific region, and should continue to prioritise ICT to accelerate the country’s transformation into a knowledge-driven economy. The Spark of Transformation initiatives are designed to support the development of a robust education system in Malaysia. The partnership is aligned to Microsoft’s commitment to transform the country together with the Malaysian government, especially in the areas of education, business and lives,” said Anath Lazarus, past Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia.

Some of the key issues discussed during the IAP Meeting included harnessing the power of ICT to raise work productivity, and how Microsoft can further support the Malaysian government’s efforts to equip the local workforce with basic computer literacy, workgroup computing and Internet skills.

Mr Mundie said, “Globally, Microsoft is committed to helping close the digital divide by creating new products and programmes that will bring sustained opportunities to people who are not yet realising the benefits of technology. Microsoft will continue to work with our partners to address the disparities in productivity and employment, and the pockets of marginalisation in urban areas and rural communities through the different Spark programmes, including YouthSpark.”