The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan and Microsoft Pakistan collaborated this week to pursue a joint initiative to promote the use of advanced Information Technology and cloud computing solutions across the education segment of Pakistan. It was a pioneering and insightful initiative that proceeded with three academic days organized every Academic year in major universities.
The inaugural ‘Microsoft Academic Day’ organized at the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Muzaffarabad, is a celebration of the HEC and Microsoft commitment to delivering advanced training, boot-camps, state-of-the-art software packages to universities across the country. The HEC has taken a horde of ICT initiatives to provide advance services to the education and research communities at the higher education institutions in Pakistan, that include National Digital Library, Pakistan Education & Research Network (PERN), National Video Conferencing Network, Unified Communication, Access to Licensed Software, Higher Education Management Information System, and e-HEC Online Services.
Recent HEC ventures include transformation towards Smart Education through Smart Universities, EduCloud Services, ICT R&D and Innovation Centers, IT Academy at HEIs, and EduTV for Education Counselling Services. Microsoft is investing $75 million globally over the next three years to increase access to computer science education for all youth, and especially for those from under-represented backgrounds. Cloud programs, like Office 365, play a significant role in enhancing collaboration, creativity and critical thinking in the classroom.
The academic day was chaired by Dr. Mustafa Bashir, MLA from Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Worthy Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Khawaja Farooq Ahmad was also present on the occasion, along with Mr. Anwar Amjad, DG IT from HEC.
Abid Zaidi, Director Enterprise Segment, Microsoft Pakistan, said, “The ‘Microsoft Academic Day’ includes a 2-hour long discussion on the achievements of the past academic year, showcasing students’ success stories, the winning ‘Imagine Cup’ ideas from the previous year, a discussion on the latest education revolution taking place via cloud technologies and lastly, some facts and figures on the Education Transformation happening throughout the country as a result of Microsoft and HEC’s engagement.”
Anwar Amjad, Director General Information Technology, Higher Education Commission Pakistan, while dilating on the prospect of a continuing endeavor in partnership with Microsoft, said, “It is a pleasure for us to work in cohesion with the global technology leader – Microsoft. Together we are striving to revolutionize Pakistan’s education system and it is really heartening to see the great response from all the stakeholders.”
The Microsoft Academic Day included discussions on the Education Transformation Agreement between the two organizations and its impact and role in the education landscape of Pakistan. Furthermore, Azure and Cloud, the latest technology trends in education, were also highlighted. Additionally, an insight into the ‘Imagine Cup’; next year’s engagement plan and past 4 year winners; a showcase on Office 365, discussion on the 250,000 plus users on the platform, it’s adoption relating to its usage in education; were also addressed on the occasion.
As devices and technology become more accessible, and the capabilities grow, especially when the laptops (2-in-1) are being distributed by HEC under the Prime Minister’s Laptops Scheme, Microsoft will unlock the potential for all students to learn, closing the skills gap and empowering the students to achieve more.
Both HEC and Microsoft are committed to partnering with educators on their journey to redefine learning. Core to their mission is creating immersive and inclusive learning experiences that inspire lifelong learning.