Microsoft and HEC organize ‘Academic Day’ at Haripur University

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan and Microsoft Pakistan have collaborated to pursue a joint initiative for promoting the use of advanced Information Technology and Cloud computing solutions, in the education sector of Pakistan. It is a pioneering and insightful initiative that includes a mega event organized every academic year, in major universities across the country.

‘Microsoft Academic Day’ was recently organized at the University of Haripur – a remote town in the north-western region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The series of events comprises of discussions on the Education Transformation Agreement (ETA) between the two organizations – its impact and role in the education landscape of Pakistan. The ETA helps the faculty & students remain up-to-date with the latest technological advancements, through technical training, workshops & seminars. Furthermore, Academic Day show cases the features of Microsoft Azure and its potential role in the Education industry.

Microsoft’s Cloud solution – Office 365, is a powerful platform used by more than 250,000 consumers in Pakistan, due to its effective performance. Similarly, experts at the event highlighted its versatility and rapid adoption for educational usage. Additionally, the participants also discussed the Imagine Cup – Microsoft’s leading technology competition, its winners over the past 4 years and the next year’s engagement plan.

The event celebrates the commitment of HEC and Microsoft to deliver advanced training and boot camps, along with the free distribution of cutting-edge software packages to universities across the country. HEC – a governing body for higher education has taken numerous ICT initiatives to provide advanced services to the education and research communities in Pakistan.

Microsoft is investing $75 million globally, over three years, to increase access to computer-science education and bring the latest technologies and tools for all youth, especially the students and the deprived communities. Microsoft’s Cloud suite Office 365 plays a significant role in enhancing collaboration, creativity and critical-thinking in the classroom. HEC also announced Microsoft’s Student Advantage Program which aims to provide free access to Windows 10 for more than 750,000 university students to help them benefit from the Windows 10 S. Windows 10 S is a specific configuration of Windows 10 Pro that offers a familiar, productive Windows experience that’s streamlined for security and performance. Windows 10 S was inspired by students and teachers and it’s the best Windows ever for schools.

Prof. Dr. Fareed Abid – Vice Chancellor University of Haripur started the proceedings with a warm welcome extended to all the guests, and highlighted the role of HEC & Microsoft in Education, saying “The opportunities, this alliance opens up for students of our University are unparalleled, and I would encourage our faculty & students to make the most out of these engagements”.

Harb Bou-Harb – Senior Director, Education and Public-Sector Microsoft North Africa, East Mediterranean and Pakistan said, “Microsoft believes that social development in today’s digital era largely depends on the scale of technology awareness among the youth. The Microsoft Academic Day is a part of our pursuit to nurture a tech-savvy mindset among the Pakistani youth.  Technological knowledge is the key to economic development in today’s world, that is why we are grooming and encouraging the youth to learn smart-computing skills.”

Professor Dr Mukhtar Ahmed – Chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan, while dilating on the prospect of a continuing endeavor in partnership with Microsoft said, “We are striving to revolutionize Pakistan’s education system, and it is really heartening to see the enthusiastic response from all the stakeholders.” He was delighted by the Student participation in Microsoft’s Certification program, announcing 300 free certification vouchers for the Students at Haripur.

As devices and technologies become more accessible and the capabilities grow – especially when laptops (2-in-1) are being distributed by HEC under the Prime Minister’s Laptops Scheme. Microsoft’s initiative seeks to enhance the understanding of students through effective training and briefings about the latest technologies.  It is closing the skills gap, to empower students in Pakistan to achieve more. Both HEC and Microsoft are partnering with more and more educators, on their journey to redefine learning.  Core to their mission is the creation of immersive and inclusive learning experiences that inspire life-long learning.

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