Posted by Lauren WoodmanGeneral Manager of Government and Education Programs, Worldwide Public Sector
This week Microsoft is hosting the Education Leaders Forum in Warsaw, Poland in conjunction with the 2010 Imagine Cup World Finals. Great event – great to bring together education leaders to talk about the role that education plays in building economic competitiveness, and particularly interesting to do so against the backdrop of the Imagine Cup Finals where so many great examples of innovation and the new perspective that students can bring to the world are being celebrated.
While we are inspired by the student projects at Imagine Cup, we can use that inspiration to spark discussion on serious issues with education leaders from all over the world. Nurturing a competitive economy is a challenge that all governments face, and we believe that a combination of information communication technology (ICT) and targeted policy focus will create the best possible environment for education to thrive and improve a country’s economic competitiveness. This morning we all had a chance to hear from President of Microsoft International, Jean-Philippe Courtois about what he believes ICT can do to help people and organizations around the world reach their full potential. One thing that really resonated with me as I think of my work with schools and teachers all over the world as part of Microsoft Partners in Learning is the fact that, in 5 years, more than 90% of all jobs will require ICT skills of some kind. This means that ICT education cannot be just for the traditional Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Design students any more, but for ALL students as they prepare for new careers. You can read a summary of Jean-Philippe’s comments and all of the keynotes from the event at www.ELF2010.org.
Creating the right environment in which innovation and economic growth can occur is challenging and requires that policymakers look broadly at business, research, and workforce development areas. Many times, these discussions are appropriately focused on how to train young people through university or vocational education for productive careers. This is why we are so excited to hear that both in Europe & North America, some of our Microsoft technical certifications are being accredited to count for college credit by HETAC in Ireland and ACE in the US & Canada, as well as the new global availability of some of our most popular stepping stones to these courses, the Microsoft Technology Associate program.
This is important work and cannot be overlooked. But we must also not forget the critically important role of primary and secondary education in laying the best foundation for future success. In my work, I have the privilege of working with teachers from around the world who recognize that their young students need more than just a solid foundation in reading, writing and arithmetic to be prepared for tomorrow. They need new skills, like critical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to work collaboratively, for example, to be ready for both the workplace and university.
Posted by Owen Linderholm Director, Microsoft on the Issues
Our colleagues in Africa have launched an interesting new blog for discussion of social and economic development on that continent, which is advancing rapidly in its use of and contributions to information and communications technology.
Having opened our first office in Africa in 1992, Microsoft now has more than 600 full-time staff and 17,000 partners there, working to innovate, expand access to technology, strengthen economies and address societal challenges. For a fresh perspective on the issues facing Africa and the world, check out Microsoft on the Issues Africa.
Posted by Scott Charney Corporate Vice President, Trustworthy Computing
Today I’m testifying at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The hearing is on the benefits and risks of the federal government’s adoption of cloud computing.
Cloud computing in its many forms creates tremendous new opportunities for cost savings, flexibility, scalability and improved computing performance for government, enterprises and citizens. At the same time, it presents new security, privacy and reliability challenges, which raise questions about functional responsibility (who must maintain controls) and legal accountability (who is legally accountable if those controls fail). Customers, including the government, need to make informed decisions about adoption of the cloud and its various service models because the model that is embraced will entail different allocations of responsibility between the customer and the cloud provider(s).
This shifting responsibility requires that both cloud providers and governments take seriously their distinct and shared responsibilities for addressing the security, privacy and reliability of cloud services. Both customers and cloud providers must understand their respective roles. Customers must be able to communicate their compliance requirements, and cloud providers must be transparent about the controls in place to meet those requirements:
Posted by Fred Humphries Managing Director, U.S. Government Affairs
Last night, an important audience experienced Microsoft’s commitment to ensuring that children use digital media and video games in safer, healthier, and more balanced ways. The audience was the U.S. Congress.
In cooperation with Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Shimkus (R-IL), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Microsoft and the Get Game Smart program hosted Capitol Hill Family Game Night. More than 150 members of Congress, staff and their family members were joined at this educational event by parents and children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.
Posted by Nancy Anderson Corporate Vice President and
Deputy General Counsel
This week the Obama Administration
released the nation’s first-ever Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property
Enforcement. Joining Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Intellectual
Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel in announcing the plan
were Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Commerce Secretary
Gary Locke. The plan demonstrates the Administration’s strong commitment
to protecting intellectual property and promoting job creation and
growth. Microsoft is pleased to support it.
As the Joint
Strategic Plan recognizes, “Intellectual property supports jobs across
all industries, and in particular where there is a high degree of
creativity, research and innovation.” A prime example is the software
industry, which has been a remarkable engine for jobs and economic growth. According to
Software Alliance, the software and related services sector
employed almost 2 million people in the United States in 2007, in jobs
that paid 195 percent of the average wage. The sector contributed more
than $261 billion to U.S. GDP in 2007, making it the largest of the U.S.
copyright industries, and its overseas earnings added a $37 billion
surplus to the U.S. balance of trade in 2009.