PARIS, July 9 --

- Resources offered in support of UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher
Education and ICT.

In an effort to help higher education institutions support economic stimulus
efforts and work-force development strategies, Microsoft Corp. has committed up
to US$50 million in higher education resources, training and certifications
through the Microsoft Education Alliance Program agreement. As part of the
agreement, the company will provide resources and tools for short-term
work-force training and higher education enhancements.


The announcement was made at the Education Leaders Forum, a one-day forum
jointly organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) and Microsoft, where more than 150 ministers of education,
senior education officials and policy advisors are discussing how governments
and universities can take full advantage of e-technology’s potential to
address the current knowledge and skills challenges facing higher education.

Earlier this week, Microsoft and UNESCO announced a joint task force to help
higher education institutions worldwide meet the growing challenge of supporting
economic stimulus efforts and work-force development strategies. The
UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher Education and ICT will develop a strategic
plan of action to identify how ICT can be used by governments as a catalyst for
change. Microsoft’s US$50 million commitment is supporting the mission of
the new task force and enabling the implementation of critical UNESCO and
Microsoft educational resources.

The innovative application of technology has the potential to impact broad
change in higher education in terms of learning, teaching and research, said
Nicholas Burnett, UNESCO assistant director-general for Education. It is the
mandate of the UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher Education and ICT to offer
guidance to governments on the use of information and communication technology
(ICT) in education and programs that facilitate increased access and solutions
that will scale to address challenges globally.

Given the current economic crisis, governments are faced with designing and
funding enhancements to higher education in order to support and spur economic
recovery. With its commitment of resources and tools, available through the
Microsoft Education Alliance Program agreement, Microsoft aims to make it easier
for governments and the public education sector to bring ICT access and skills
to the next generation of students and teachers.

Microsoft will offer up to US$50 million in free software and certifications,
including the following:

- Microsoft DreamSpark. A technology that enables students to download
Microsoft developer and design tools at no charge, as well as additional
science, technology, engineering, math and design (STEM-D) resources. Since
launching in 2007, nearly 2.3 million downloads have been conducted by
university students. More than 70 countries have high schools enrolled in
DreamSpark programs. - Microsoft Live@edu. A program providing a suite of
communication and collaboration tools for students, faculty, staff and alumni in
K-12 schools and on college campuses worldwide. With Live@edu, schools gain
access to Microsoft Office Outlook Live for e-mail, Microsoft Office Live
Workspace to share documents and collaborate, Windows Live Messenger for instant
messaging, and Windows Live SkyDrive for 25 GB of online data storage space.
Thousands of schools across 86 countries currently use Live@edu to enhance the
learning experience. - Digital Literacy Curriculum. An online curriculum that
adult learners new to computing can access in 30 languages to gain the basic
skills to perform everyday tasks as well as a general awareness of the benefits
of computing. To date, the Digital Literacy Curriculum reaches 5.8 million
people worldwide. - Microsoft IT Academy Program. A world-class digital literacy
and technology curriculum that enables faculty and students to earn
industry-recognized professional certifications - one of the most effective
means of improving student employability. Nearly three- quarters of IT Academy
Program members surveyed report that program resources and benefits improve
student employability and earning potential. More than 6,000 academic
institutions worldwide are members, reaching more than 360,000 students and
8,000 faculty. - Microsoft Students to Business. A program available in 69
countries that connects businesses with universities to provide students with
skills training, industry insight and job placement services. To date, 100,000
students have been trained and 5,000 companies are registered to find students
with practical technology skills. - Microsoft Certification. A program available
on Microsoft Office applications for IT professionals, developers and technical
specialists. Microsoft Certification provides recognized credentials that help
students get and keep the skills needed for employment, and that measure and
validate the ability to solve real-world problems. More than 2.6 million IT
professionals and 2.2 million information workers are certified on technologies
used by organizations and individuals.

Additional information about the Microsoft resources available can be found at and

About Unlimited Potential

Microsoft, through its Unlimited Potential vision, is committed to making
technology more affordable, relevant and accessible for the 5 billion people
around the world who do not yet enjoy its benefits. The company aims to do so by
helping to transform education and foster a culture of innovation, and through
these means enable better jobs and opportunities. By working with governments,
intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations and industry
partners, Microsoft hopes to reach its first major milestone - to reach the next
1 billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology - by 2015.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software,
services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full

SOURCE: Microsoft Corp

Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, +1-503-443-7070,; Logo:; NOTE TO EDITORS: If you
are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the
Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s
corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were
correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional
assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid
Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at