Microsoft Calls On Business To Pump $5bn Into IT Education
Microsoft believes $5bn over the next 10 years would help solve the IT skills crisis
Microsoft believes that the best way to fill a nation’s IT skills gap is to throw money at the government, so it can pump money into IT education.
It has called for an obligation to be placed on businesses to pay up a total of $500 million a year, or $5 billion over a decade. That fund would form part of a ‘Race to the Future’ initiative, and would be used by the US federal government to areas that need heavier investment in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education.
Microsoft also urged the US government to open its doors wider to immigrants with STEM skills. It called on Congress to create a “new, supplemental category” with 20,000 visas annually, on top of an additional allocation of 20,000 new green card slots, for STEM skills that are in short supply.
More generally, it would like to see better qualified teachers in schools and colleges, wider access to computer science in high schools and more STEM-based degrees. Students should also be helped to finish college faster.
“Ultimately, we can’t expect to build the economy of the future with only the jobs of the past. We must prepare the next generation for the waves of technological innovation that are on the horizon in every field,” said Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president for legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft.
“We are committed to doing our part and hope the business community, education institutions, and government can come together to pursue this common goal. We know the proposals outlined here do not have all the answers, but we believe they can help us move in the right direction to help our nation and America’s next generation realize their full potential.”
In the UK, the Coalition is attempting to boost IT education in schools. The government is currently working on a new IT curriculum, which is likely to come into force in 2014. In the meantime, schools will be tasked with experimenting on IT courses, which could inform what the curriculum eventually looks like.
Earlier this week, the government re-launched Unistats – a website designed to help students compare information about university and college courses in the UK.
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