Microsoft offers students free access to its technologies to improve employability


Microsoft East and Southern Africa has unveiled an online learning platform, a fully cloud-based learning experience to assist students acquire technologies that would enhance their employability.

Dubbed Microsoft Virtual Academy the platform leverages on Microsoft Cloud Technologies. Speaking during a press conference to announce the 2011’s Microsoft Open Door activities, Dele Akinsade, Developer Platform Evangelist, Microsoft West East and Central Africa said the company has stepped up its partnership with local universities to empower the students with the best technology tools to enhance their learning experience.

“We are striving to develop a culture conducive to innovation. As we recognize that the potential to innovate must be nurtured early-on, Microsoft will continue to provide appropriate and superior learning tools to encourage innovation,” said Akinsade.

Open Door is a major technology event where Microsoft showcases its latest generation of technologies to Kenyan professionals and enthusiasts.

Targeting the student community as well as IT professionals, the Microsoft Virtual Academy is geared towards encouraging and promoting local innovation and improving employability.

Students have access to a variety of free online training content and are able to learn at their own pace, enabling them to build the necessary Information Technology skills critical to most careers.

The Microsoft Virtual Academy complements the recently launched Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) programme, an educational and promotional program for undergraduate and postgraduate students majoring in technology related disciplines such as computer science, computer information systems, and information technology.

Vincent Mugambi, Developer platform manager Microsoft East and Southern Africa said the MSP program aims to enhance students' employability and increase students' awareness of Microsoft technologies.

“Student Partners are offered training especially in product-specific skills not typically taught in academia,” said Mugambi.

Following completion of the program, Student Partners are expected to share their knowledge among the academic community through arranging courses, giving presentations and initiating projects.

The tenure for the Microsoft Student Program is one academic year and can be renewed on acceptable performance.

“It is a thrilling experience to study Microsoft technologies and advance my career,” said George Mbuthia, a student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. “By earning points for downloading and studying materials and passing the self-assessment tests the program also keeps me motivated and encouraged, as I can constantly see my progress.”

Microsoft has already identified 15 student partners in Kenya drawing membership from Strathmore University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agricultural Technology-JKUAT, Methodist University, University of Nairobi and Kabarak University.