IDB LogoEvery year the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) holds its Annual Meeting to discuss and support progress on some of the most important societal priorities and challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean. This year, the meeting is taking place in Panama City - bringing together key stakeholders including economic and political decision makers, civil society representatives and the business community. Since 2006, Microsoft is proud to have attended IDB’s annual meetings to help demonstrate the power of technology in addressing the bank’s priority issues.

Education and youth unemployment are some of the most important and critical issues being tackled in Panama. So much so that the IDB Annual Meeting includes a Solidarity and Youth Day – an entire day (today) devoted to community development and youth issues.

This event highlights the IDB’s commitment to the communities where the Bank operates, the contributions young people and the community make through volunteerism, the importance of corporate social responsibility, and the appreciation of the host country of the Annual Meeting.
In support of this, the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA), the IDB, SENACYT (Secretaria Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación), Microsoft and Dell have partnered to equip Panama’s Las Garzas de Pacora Virgen de Guadalupe School with a ‘’21st Century Classroom’’ through the donation of PCs, software and training. The school will be equipped with five main components: a virtual classroom, a computer lab, an Infoplaza, and educational software and training for the teachers.  Both the first lady of Panama, Marta Linares de Martinelli and IDB President, Luis Alberto Moreno are attending the launch of the refurbished school today.

Through the donation, Las Garzas de Pacora’s Virgen de Guadalupe School will receive 65 PCs – 25 from the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA), 15 from SENACYT and 25 from Dell. The school will benefit from new Internet capabilities of 6MB per second, deployment of Microsoft Office 365, and curriculum and learning content from the Microsoft Learning Suite.  These improvements will allow the 43 teachers and over 1,200 students at the school to connect, collaborate, create, and share through innovative technology and empower young minds.

Microsoft supports the IDB’s education priorities which include early childhood development, school to work transition and teacher quality. Central to achieving these objectives is the incorporation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in educational processes. Currently, 88 percent of schools in Latin America do not have science labs and 40 percent do not have libraries. 

At Microsoft, we believe that education is the most important investment in the future of individuals and communities around the world. It is a vital component to the social and economic success of generations to come. In today’s information-based world, innovative technology solutions are drivers of improved teaching and learning. Through the strategic application of technology and opportunities for the professional development of educators, education can provide students with more opportunities in the workforce and in institutions of higher learning.

- Anthony