Photo - Jasmine Begum, Director, Corporate External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft Malaysia.
Malaysia's Yayasan Generasi Gemilang (GG) is one of 100 global non-profit organisations (NPOs) to benefit from a Microsoft YouthSpark grant, announced Microsoft Philanthropies.
The grants are part of a US$75 million commitment Microsoft made to increase access to computer science education around the world through Microsoft YouthSpark, announced by the productivity and cloud solution company's chief executive officer, Satya Nadella, last year.
Teri Choong, head of Strategic Alliances at GG said the US$65,000 grant that Microsoft Philanthropies has made to GG will equip youths from underserved communities and schools with essential technological skills to improve employability.
Choong said that the Microsoft YouthSpark partnership and grants will help the Foundation reach more than 1,200 youths across urban Malaysia and into the far interiors of East Malaysia.
The programme under the Microsoft YouthSpark grant, titled NextGen XLR8, will also prepare youths to be responsible netizens. This mentoring program allows these individuals to gain a competitive edge in today's workforce.
"Beyond the numbers, our NextGen XLR8 program is uniquely designed to help youths acquire and learn Microsoft software skills," said Choong. "With this, we are able to cultivate positive values in these individuals - infusing teachings of responsibility and accountability - while they learn other skills, which will help them improve employability, such as presentation skills and financial literacy."
"They'll be able to do all this with the use of Word, PowerPoint and Excel. It is evident that Microsoft Office has proven to change the perception of youths and their future endeavours. We are thankful that Microsoft has confidence in our approach and together, we are able to create a deeper social impact change, one child at a time," said Choong.
Jasmine Begum, director, Corporate External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft Malaysia and Emerging Markets, said, "Empowerment begins with inclusion, and Microsoft believes that no one should be left behind in their quest to reach their fullest potential. Through grants such as YouthSpark, we aim to provide non-profit partners such as Generasi Gemilang with the tools and resources they need to empower youths - especially among the girls and women - in our local communities. Ultimately, we hope that this grant will benefit particularly those who have no access to basic computer science education."
Microsoft was partnering with non-profits by providing cash grants, content and other resources they need to bring computational thinking and problem-solving skills to young people in local communities, important building blocks to help them succeed in today's tech-fuelled economy.
Data available in Malaysia underscores the need for greater access to computer science education. According to the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, an agency under the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation, Malaysia recorded about 85,000 science and technology graduates in 2015 - but at least 500,000 are needed by 2020 for the country to achieve developed nation status.
"Along with this support provided to Generasi Gemilang, we remain fully committed to ensure that all communities have access to these critical skills in line with the nation's efforts in fulfilling a vision of a highly skilled workforce by the year 2020," said Jasmine.
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