This is an important week in the world of education. Many of the world’s most innovative educators and government leaders will gather in London for the Education World Forum (EWF) and the British Education Technology & Training (BETT) Show. I will be at both events, and will be sharing ideas, insights and happenings each day.

The Education World Forum (EWF), which begins today, is an invitation-only event, targeted specifically at national ministers of education and their delegations. Designed to inspire top-down change, last year’s EWF included over 100 education ministers, representing over 90 countries. While education reform requires hard work and support from many fronts – students, teachers, administrators, parents and policy makers – the national ministers of education have very specific and unique pressures and perspectives. EWF exposes them to the ideas of global education visionaries, and then empowers them to advocate for change.

At Microsoft, we believe that a well-educated workforce is the best way to ensure sustained economic and social advancement. Our goal is to help each individual student reach his or her unique potential, and this requires working in partnership with all education stakeholders. The more we all work together to bridge the gap between employers’ needs and employees’ skills, the closer we will come to ensuring sustainable economic and social development. Together, we must help prepare the students of today to become the workforce of tomorrow.
 
While Microsoft is a technology company, we know that technology itself will not transform education. This is why we are committed partners in learning in the education sector. We advocate for, partner with, and listen to the needs of educators, administrators, and students.  And for over 25 years, we have been delivering services and experiences that bring learning to life— in and out of the classroom. We want to help education leaders reimagine how technology can modernize learning and improve outcomes, leading to a better workforce and economic growth.

So we are proud to not only sponsor EWF, but also to introduce updates to many of our important programs.

• Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) Exam and eLearning study curriculum, Teaching with Technology (TwT) will soon be available in Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Arabic, Indonesian, and Mandarin. Developed in alignment with the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers and ISTE, the content continues to see growing interest in countries and institutions where supporting and validating educator competencies to use ICTs in teaching and learning is a critical policy goal.

• Matuto: Literacy for Life: Literacy is the number-one educational challenge facing countries across the globe, with an estimated one in four adults functionally illiterate. Basic ICT skills are now also a core literacy, and a requirement for full participation – and employment – in a 21st century world. Microsoft is working with partners like UNESCO, the Global Partnership for Education at the World Bank and leading NGOs – including World Vision and Save The Children – to deliver innovative digital literacy services using mobile devices and literacy education, even in the absence of a literate parent or peer.

• New Pedagogies For Deep Learning (NPDL): NPDL is a global partnership that includes Microsoft, Intel, Promethean and Pearson. We are working together to address a key education challenge: how educators can design and practice teaching that leads to more successful futures for all students. Working with governments - and a global cluster of 1,000 schools - this partnership seeks to identify the ways in which systemic change can be implemented to allow students to connect and flourish in today's world.

 The Collaborative Assessment Alliance (CAA): A meaningful education today requires equipping students with skills that will help them create and realize job opportunities, contribute to their communities and fulfill their potential. The Collaborative Assessment Alliance, a partnership supported by Microsoft, Educational Testing Service, Intel and Promethean, builds on the research and outcomes of the Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills (ACT21S) project. CAA engages with local organizations to help design, create, test and deploy individual assessments tasks. The goal is to put local organizations at the leading edge of digital assessment.
Microsoft's commitment to education is unmatched and unwavering. We believe a quality education is a social imperative, and we also know that the right education today will create the skilled workforce we need for the leaders of tomorrow. We know first-hand about the growing challenge of finding enough skilled workers to fill the jobs we need filled. We are in a unique position to address this challenge, and we intend to play a leading role in the solution.

There will be much more to come from London this week, and I look forward to sharing stories, successes and ideas with you here.

- Anthony Salcito

VP Worldwide Education, Microsoft