Establishing PCT Learning Centers: Microsoft, Aga Khan Foundation sign accord

Microsoft and the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan inked an agreement here Monday to establish the country’s first pilot Community Technology (PCT) Learning Centers in the remote northern areas of Gilgit and Hunza. By expanding CT access and training resources to these rural areas, these centers will offer local residents new social and economic opportunities.

Al-Nashir Jamal, CEO of Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan & Kamal Ahmed, Country General Manager of Microsoft Pakistan were present on the occcasion. Kamal Ahmed said, “We are thrilled to collaborate with Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan on a pilot project that will build a knowledge economy for Pakistan. We have always believed that by working with partners to create relevant training opportunities and innovative tools for people who are under served by technology, we can help foster social and economic opportunities that change people’s lives and transform communities.”

Based on the Microsoft Unlimited Potential Community Technology Skills Programme, the centers in Gilgit and Hunza will help promote workforce development through training in basic computer literacy and the use of advanced business productivity applications. Microsoft supports these centers through various contributions, including software, curriculum, and technical expertise, with a focus on non-profit centers that make IT skills training a priority, enable community members to share the learning experience, and are open and accessible to the public.

Al-Nashir Jamal said: “I strongly believe that this pilot initiative by Microsoft and the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan will bring a positive change in the communities. We are excited about this strategic partnership with Microsoft. We look forward to working with Microsoft in their long term commitment for the development of IT Education in the country. The Foundation and Microsoft will continue to build PCT Learning Centers and explore delivery of quality education in various sectors.”

This initiative follows an agreement signed between Microsoft and the Aga Khan Foundation in the US to partner with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in the areas of education, youth employment, civil society capacity, building, rural economic development, financial and health services in under served communities in Africa and South and Central Asia.

Dr Muhammad Memon, Director of the Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) remarked that, “I am very pleased with this collaboration and hope that this pilot initiative will provide further opportunities to more participants to enhance their skills and become confident professionals.”

Microsoft continues to focus on making technology more affordable, relevant and accessible for under served communities. Through its Unlimited Potential Commitment, Microsoft is working with governments, intergovernmental organisations, nongovernmental organisations and industry partners, in order to meet its first major milestone that is to reach the next 1 billion people, who are not yet realising the benefits of technology by 2015.

via Business Recorder