MIAMI, April 4, 2008 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Today at the annual Government Leaders Forum — Americas in Miami, Microsoft Corp. signed a collaborative agreement with the Telefonica Foundation, an entity of Telefonica S.A., to promote the development and improvement of education through information and communication technology (ICT) for teachers and students in Latin America. The agreement was signed by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Cesar Alierta, chairman of Telefonica and the Telefonica Foundation.
Through the agreement, Microsoft and the Telefonica Foundation will expand an online training network — called Profesores Innovadores (Innovative Professors) — to provide online content, services and curricula to innovative teachers in Latin America. The program will help educators learn, develop professionally and exchange knowledge with their peers. It already is operating in Spain, Mexico and Colombia, with a goal to expand offerings throughout more countries in the Latin American region, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru. Additional countries will be announced in the near future. Innovative Professors is offered through the Telefonica Foundation’s EducaRed program, in connection with Microsoft programs and resources, including the flagship Partners in Learning program, that enhance the educational process through technology solutions which foster innovative teaching and learning.
“While software and technology can play a vitally important role in increasing access to quality education, it takes more than a single organization or company to provide all the resources necessary to make a real difference,” said Gates. “Through alliances like the one we’re announcing today with the Telefonica Foundation, we can use the power of technology to deliver great educational materials to students and teachers across Latin America in a way that will have a meaningful impact on education in the entire region.”
“Our businesses are directly linked to the social and economic development of the communities we serve all over the world,” said Alierta. “For this reason it was completely natural for Microsoft and Telefonica to begin working together in Spain in 2004 as engines of innovation in the Spanish educational system. Together we launched Innovative Professors, a program developed with the cooperation of those teachers most concerned about ICT.”
The Innovative Professors program uses an online portal and forum, built on Microsoft technologies, to encourage collaboration and sharing of innovative teaching practices. Launched by Microsoft and the Telefonica Foundation in February 2004, the portal focuses on IT literacy and teacher training by providing educators with activities, seminars, curricula and other services. Originally aimed at teachers in Spain, the program was extended in 2007 to Mexico and Colombia, and now has more than 37,000 registered teachers, with over 100,000 unique monthly visits in 2007 alone.
This collaboration will support and extend the services currently offered through Telefonica Foundation’s EducaRed program. The goal of EducaRed is to provide teachers, students and parents with the Internet’s most innovative tools and educational content, making it easier for them to access online and classroom training and collaboration tools. EducaRed received over 60 million visits in 2007 alone, with over 238 million page views at its portal sites. Last year, Telefonica Foundation’s educational programs reached or directly benefited close to 36 million people.
Microsoft offers a full range of education programs and software solutions to enable the transformation of education in Latin America and around the world. The Partners in Learning initiative, which was launched in 2003, has since benefited more than 59 million students and teachers in Latin America and has invested more than $25 million (U.S.) in grants and software through three core programs: Innovative Teachers, Innovative Students, and Innovative Schools. Partners in Learning is supported by Microsoft Unlimited Potential, the company’s commitment to creating sustained social and economic opportunity for everyone through strong public and private sector partnerships and technology solutions that are relevant, accessible and affordable. Additional information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/unlimitedpotential.
About Unlimited Potential
Microsoft, through its Unlimited Potential vision, is committed to making technology more affordable, relevant and accessible for the 5 billion people around the world who do not yet enjoy its benefits. The company aims to do so by helping to transform education and foster a culture of innovation, and through these means enable better jobs and opportunities. By working with governments, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations and industry partners, Microsoft hopes to reach its first major milestone — to reach the next 1 billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology — by 2015. In Latin America, the company’s goal is to reach the first 90 million people by the year 2010.
About Telefonica Foundation
Telefonica Foundation is the branch of Telefonica in charge of carrying out the company’s Social and Cultural Action plan. This plan is currently working in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Peru, Mexico and Venezuela and although each country works on an individual basis, all the separate entities share a common vision, objectives and work methods.
The work carried out by the Telefonica Foundation is channeled into five large scale programs: EducaRed (http://www.educared.net); Pronino, which has a large social impact in Latin America and whose objective is to eradicate child labor by promoting schooling; Voluntarios Telefonica, which promotes the participation of Telefonica employees in various activities included in the Social Action plan; Forum, which focuses on the generation of knowledge in an Information Technology Society environment and its social impact; and Arte y Tecnologia, which aims to promote the most innovative artistic forms and which is in charge of the historical and artistic heritage of the Company. Visit http://www.telefonica.es/fundacion.
Telefonica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of number of clients and market capitalisation. Its activities are centered mainly on the fixed and mobile telephony businesses with broadband as the key tool for the development of both. The company has a significant presence in 24 countries and a customer base that amounts to more than 228 million around the world. Telefonica has a strong presence in Spain, the rest of Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.
Telefonica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.7 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 4,773,496,485 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia) and on those in London, Tokyo, New York, Lima, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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