It’s pretty much known, Microsoft has been running Learning Global Forum project program–a global professional development program to equip teacher to cater IT and other future looking subjects to students– since 2003. Yesterday, Microsoft added another $250 million to its partners in this project. In this way, Microsoft has invested $750 million in the project since its launch.
You might think that it could be Microsoft’s soft diplomacy/ Marketing strategy for education because its vertical target is software and IT services businesses. Indeed, investing $750 million in the project (till date) could not be reckless especially when governments have cut spend on education due to economic instability in their respective markets. This time, Microsoft is looking to invest in order to expand the global footprint of the program. Currently, the program is being operated in 119 countries, and has trained 11 million teachers and 200 million students around the world. Now, Microsoft is targeting to extend the number to 20 million teachers by 2018.
If we think in another way, in America, 25% of students (those who start high school) fail to complete graduate. Of course, high school dropouts have created greater unemployment rate in the country, which is 3.5% higher than college graduates. At present, an unemployment figure in the U.S. has risen about 8%, and really, there’s a need to take initiative to turnaround the education quality of the country. However, number of graduates in Japan, Korea, the U.K. and some other countries are quite impressive.
In context of Microsoft, it sells software, services and devices globally, and its products such as Windows 8, Office 365, PC and Tablets all have important place in classrooms. Besides Microsoft, Apple, Google and other companies those are investing huge in technologies have influenced to worldwide education quality. We are beyond the shadow of doubts that technology is the way that could transform a teacher’s delivery and could also accelerate a student’s motivation for the higher education.
As per business perspectives, Microsoft wants to educate teachers and students about its products. And also, it is trying to show them how these products could turnaround their technology understanding skills. As competition in the PC and mobile market has been intensifying around, Microsoft doesn’t want to leave any room for its competitors like Google and Apple. At present, a significant number of people around the world are familiar with Apple and Google’s products, and Microsoft is seeing that its products are somehow losing hypes in the rush.
Furthermore, majority of users are still in dilemma with Windows 8 Tablets—Surface 8 Pro and Surface RT. In addition to this, declining demand of PCs and increasing prevalence of Apple and Google’s products in developed countries have compelled Microsoft to look for new markets. And this is the main reason why, this time, Microsoft is focusing on emerging markets. Not surprisingly, Microsoft’s Learning Project is lucrative for both students and Teachers along with the company itself.