Collaboration between Microsoft Corporation and World ORT is set to intensify now that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the application of information technologies and on innovation in education.
The MoU was signed in Moscow by the President of Microsoft Russia, Dr Nikolay Pryanishnikov, and the Director of ORT Russia, Dr Sergey Gorinskiy, during the 8th European Forum of Microsoft’s Partners in Learning programme, which brought together more than 300 educators from 40 countries. “ORT is one of the largest educational networks in the world; its activities overlap Microsoft’s mission of promoting the modernization of education, which indicates the great potential there is for the two organizations to interact both in Russia and around the world,” said Igor Balandin, Director of Education at Microsoft Russia. “I am confident that there are a lot of interesting and successful projects ahead of us which will contribute to the development of the educational system.” The MoU is an integral part of the Microsoft Educational Alliance, which involves the implementation of joint social projects including the promotion of ICT use in education, raising the level of teachers’ computer literacy and spreading best teaching practices. Within days of the MoU being signed a high-powered delegation from the technology giant headed by Don Grentham, President of Microsoft in Central and Eastern Europe, took the first step in realizing its goals by touring the ORT de Gunzburg High School to see how it was implementing a system of individualized academic instruction. The ORT de Gunzburg High School has benefited from Microsoft’s support since 2009 when it became the only one in Russia to be selected by the corporation as a Pathfinder School. This is a small international group of schools whose record of innovation and successful change implementation has put them at the forefront of Microsoft’s $500 million Partners in Learning programme. And last year, the ORT Kiev Technology Lyceum became Ukraine’s sole representative in the programme, which helps schools and staff use technology to advance teaching and learning more effectively. The MoU raises the possibility of the best schools in ORT’s network in the Former Soviet Union to join de Gunzburg and the Kiev Lyceum in the global Partners in Learning Innovative Schools programme. “We are pleased to have among our partners a company like Microsoft, whose long-standing technological and methodological support in the field of education has promoted development in many countries,” said World ORT’s Chief Programme Officer, Vladimir Dribinskiy. “By combining our efforts we can create synergies which will drive the development of an educational system in tune with 21st Century realities.” Microsoft has been cooperating with the Russian education system for 20 years, providing schools and other institutions with modern information technology and preferential terms for buying software which promotes teachers’ competence in ICT. ORT de Gunzburg’s Deputy Director, Gregory Vodopyan, said Microsoft had focused on providing his school high quality help, including the provision of SharePoint software which allows the consolidation of intranet, extranet and Internet sites on a single platform. Teachers are taken to top schools in other countries to see how they were using technology to organize and enhance the learning process; and access to leading educators in fields related to innovation and school transformation is enabled via Microsoft’s Virtual University training sessions. Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal computers and servers. Its Russian subsidiary was created in 1992. More information about Microsoft and its products can be found on the Microsoft web servers: http://www.microsoft.com/rus (Russian language) and http://www.microsoft.com (English).