“The best education policies are developed at the state and local levels, but this problem can’t be solved unless the federal government plays a limited but important role,” Smith says in an article for The Wichita Eagle.
Smith adds that Microsoft and CEOs from other companies have joined several school superintendents and a bipartisan mix of 27 governors in requesting for higher standards for computer science education in the country. The call to congress also expresses a fear that the U.S. would not be able to compete with other countries in the future.
Microsoft stresses that if tech-relevant education standards are not implemented in school systems, the country may no longer be a relevant player in the technology scene decades from now.
Two million unfilled IT jobs by 2024 in the US?
The Wichita article states that more than 500,000 unfilled computing jobs in the United States today are expected to balloon up to a million openings by 2024. Smith also writes that nations like China and Estonia are ensuring the availability of computer science education to their students.
The cause is not the first time Microsoft emphasizes the lack of sufficient computer science education in the U.S.
The company has recently supported Seattle non-profit Code.org’s petition on Change.org that requested the U.S. congress to “amplify and accelerate local efforts … to answer all the parents and teachers who believe that every student, in every school, should have a chance to learn computer science.”
— Microsoft Bay Area (@MSFTBayArea) April 26, 2016
Microsoft has also helped eye-health non-profit LV Prasad Eye Institution to open a computer training center for the visually-impaired in 2014. The center teaches students how to use Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Skype and already has supported 128 students in their first year. The program will also educate them how to navigate the internet, social networking websites, and learn programming languages.
The recent moves are reminiscent of Microsoft’s goal to eliminate education inequality by 2026, believing that major problems such as access to education, quality of provision, and resourcing in schooling systems could be resolved within a decade.
As Microsoft public sector head Vivek Puthucode said in a blog post last April, “Personalized learning is the name of the game,” and that Microsoft´s mission was to “help every individual on the planet achieve more, according to their own vision and needs.”