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Microsoft Renews Commitment to Education With US$250 Million Investment in Partners in Learning

-- Renewal commitment brings total program investment to US$750 million for improving teacher skills, resources to improve student readiness for the global workforce.

PRAGUE, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corp. today kicked off its annual Partners in Learning Global Forum and reaffirmed its commitment to education with a US$250 million, five-year renewal of Microsoft Partners in Learning, bringing Microsoft's total investment in the program to US$750 million over 15 years. Microsoft aims to grow the Partners in Learning community to 20 million of the 75 million teachers worldwide by 2018 with the renewal and to continue preparing students for the changing global workforce.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )

Microsoft plans to expand Partners in Learning beyond the 119 countries that currently participate with a continued emphasis on driving community, developing networks, and allowing educators to share innovations and learn from each other.

"So many of us have a great teacher to thank for our achievements," said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft. "That's why I am so proud that Microsoft Partners in Learning continues to support innovative teachers. We started this program nearly 10 years ago based on the belief that education is a fundamental human right and the single most important investment in our collective future. This has never been more true, and I'm really pleased to see the continuing commitment to innovations that can help all students and teachers reach their full potential."

"We see a significant opportunity to invest in the economy of tomorrow by working with educators today to teach 21st century skills," said Laura Ipsen, corporate vice president, Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector. "Studies have shown the measurable impact that a great teacher has on a student's potential, future earnings and contribution to a global economy. Our focus on PiL is the cornerstone of Microsoft's commitment to empower youth, spark innovation in the classroom and improve learning outcomes globally."

Microsoft's commitment to education centers on providing training resources and building community to support the teaching of 21st century skills that prepare today's youth for the competitive global workforce. Research shows a strong connection between education and economic growth, and Partners in Learning is Microsoft's global initiative to partner with educators and governments to advance student success through digital inclusion and innovative teaching practices. Partners in Learning is a key program within Microsoft YouthSpark, a companywide initiative to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Through the Partners in Learning program, Microsoft has trained more than 11 million teachers and reached more than 200 million students since 2003.

"Transformation in educational practice is one of the most difficult things for schools and educators to achieve," said Jeff Davis, executive principal, Varsity College, Queensland, Australia. "Everyone talks of 21st century learning, but few have bridged the gap from theory into true innovative practice where students are actually using the technologies available on a daily basis and pedagogy shifts to a new domain. Microsoft's Partners in Learning program stands apart. Not only does this program support schools and educators in making great leaps in bridging both the technical and pedagogical gaps, but the Partners in Learning program brings together those who have made this transformation leap and builds in them further capacity to become world leaders. Without the support of Partners in Learning, the innovation, collaboration and achievement levels at this school would not have been realized as they are now. We thank Microsoft for its support and belief in our school."

"A strong education rooted in the skills and technology tools needed to enter the rapidly changing global workforce can lay a foundation for improving global economic outcomes," said Godelieve van den Brande, European Commission, DG of Education and Culture.

More News From Partners in Learning Global Forum 2012
Microsoft's annual Partners in Learning Global Forum, hosted in Prague in 2012, is the culmination of national and regional forums that recognize innovative educators and school leaders. The 2012 Global Forum brings together more than 500 of the most innovative teachers, education leaders and government officials from 80 countries. Teachers who attend the forum are global finalists who have made it through a progressively selective competition that started with more than 250,000 participants at national events. They will compete for one of 18 Partners in Learning Global Forum Educator Awards.

Acer is the platinum sponsor of this year's event and will showcase many of its newest computers running Windows 8 during the Technology Showcase. Participants are encouraged to try the devices, and the judges will use them throughout the week as they record information on the teacher projects. Acer's full line of complementary education products supports a one-on-one learning approach in all subjects, enabling the pedagogy process in an easy and efficient way. More information is available at http://www.acer.com.

About Microsoft Partners in Learning
Microsoft Partners in Learning is a 15-year, $750 million commitment by Microsoft to help education systems around the world. Since its inception in 2003, the Partners in Learning program has reached more than 210 million teachers and students in 119 countries. Partners in Learning helps educators and school leaders connect, collaborate, create and share so students can realize their greatest potential. The online Partners in Learning Network is one of the world's largest global professional networks for educators, connecting millions of teachers and school leaders around the world in a community of professional development. For more information on Partners in Learning please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/partnersinlearning

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 potential.

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