The executive vice president of Microsoft, Jean-Philippe Courtois, spoke about the initiative that is being developed in public institutions in Colombia so that students in the last years of secondary education can learn the Python programming language with Minecraft.
How was this alliance born?
The ways that people interact, socialize and work are changing rapidly. By the time the kindergartners graduate, the world will be very different. By then, many jobs will change and will increasingly require creative problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and digital skills.
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The World Economic Forum estimates that, by 2030, more than 70 percent of all jobs will be permeated by technology. Education systems must prepare students for the future in a very different way than in the past. New thinking and practices are needed to ensure that students develop the cognitive and social-emotional skills necessary to be successful in their personal and professional lives.
Governments and systems are introducing apprenticeships to empower students to thrive in a global digital economy. This is how this Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education came to life to make sure students have access to digital skillsincluding coding, to prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
How does it work in Colombia?
We will start in 2023, young talent is one of Colombia’s greatest assets and we are here today to empower them, through technology, to achieve more.
We want to help every student on the planet learn to code., which starts with making coding fun to learn. That’s where Minecraft comes in, as by sparking students’ curiosity you can give them the chance to learn in a game environment they love and use code to solve problems.
Any student can learn to code, cybersecurity skills that are essential in an increasingly digitized world, and skills to understand and work on our most pressing global challenge, sustainability.
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How do those licenses work?
Minecraft Education Edition is a game-based learning platform that inspires creative and inclusive learning in immersive worlds—there’s no better way to engage students and drive meaningful learning by exploring math, science, reading, and more.
The idea is for it to be used in the classroom, as Minecraft has been for almost a decade in 115 countries, it allows players to code with blocks and Python, so students can see their code come to life right in the game. Students solve real-world problems with code, such as building roads, planting gardens, and rescuing animals. The immersive game-based learning environment is motivating, meaningful, and fun.
Teachers do not need to know computers to teach it. Learning Paths are available to create a personalized and immersive experience for students, and teachers can also access 200 hours of aligned content with CSTA and Iste computing standards, and 27 hours of free online and virtual training.
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What other initiatives do you have in the country?
Microsoft is only successful when we help the world around us succeed. That is why we believe that economic growth must be inclusive of every person, organization, community, and country. This starts with increasing access to technology and digital skills and extends to the way we promote inclusive economic opportunities.
We are committed to building partnerships around the world to ensure that children and adolescents have the skills to access better opportunities.
Our training programs are aimed at developing not only digital and soft skills, but also at increasing the employability potential of Colombians. With our free Job Skills program, more than 99,000 Colombians have developed the skills they need to access better opportunities. We have also trained 700,000 Colombians in digital skills, including more than 80,000 developers, to ensure that Colombia has the talent to drive transformation. We have already started our program to train 65,000 people in cybersecurity with the Universidad de los Andes and Sena.
Equally important, in Colombia we have worked to link training with employability, because although there is a whole field that demands qualified talent, at the same time Colombian youth struggle to find a job. That is why we have partnered with Sena in our Talent Seedbed program, with which we went to more than 240 associated companies, asked about their needs in terms of digital talent, and trained 1,200 young apprentices in those specific areas. The results are promising: more than 70 percent of them now have long-term stable jobs. And this is just the beginning. We’ve also made unique partnerships with LinkedIn and local authorities, which have connected 2.2 million job seekers to new opportunities.
What other plans will come for 2023?
Everything we do is driven by our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.
Therefore, supporting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, aligning with the approach of the Government and society will ensure that everyone benefits from a digital economy. I am inspired by passion and innovation and excited to see what’s next for Colombia.
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