A delegation from Microsoft, Kenya on June 16, 2022 paid a visit to the University of Botswana to explore for possibilities of securing a three-year collaboration through an Education Transformation Agreement (ETA).
The ETA paves way for a comprehensive joint public-private partnership that fosters positive changes to teaching and learning and improved learning outcomes for students.It is further intended to ensure educational development and success long into the future. The team that met the Vice Chancellor Professor, David Norris, comprised Africa Microsoft East Africa, Industry Advisor, Mr Benson Kinoti Gichuru and Microsoft East Africa, Corporate Affairs Director, Mrs Angela Ng’ang’a.
Speaking at meeting, Mrs Ng’ang’a said the most important use of technology was to improve education hence their intention to harness digital transformation through partnership with UB.
“I defiantly look forward for the actualization of the documents for the partnership and success in the realization of our goals and vision,” said Mrs Ng’ang’a
In response, Professor Norris explained that the partnership aligned perfectly with the UB transformation strategy. He also observed that the partnership was relevant to the strategic goals of effective teaching and learning which were paramount to UB.
“The success and effective learning of students is very important to us as university and that’s our number one in our strategy objectives,” said Professor Norris.
In addition, Professor Norris said the partnership was timely as it coincided with UB transitioning into blended learning and online degree programmes. He explained that the partnership would also promote research that supported stakeholders, government, students and the industry. Professor Norris said UB transformation was driven by relevance to society, research that solved societal challenges, economic activity of the country as well as production of well-rounded graduates. For his part, Mr Gichuru gave an overview of his company, saying had specific managed accounts in Africa that they worked very closely with in that they got to understand how they perceived Microsoft success.
“We then bring in technology based on research and the element of transformative mitigation and leverage on that with technology that is out there and to achieve that leadership is very important,” said Mr Gichuru. He further noted that Microsoft Education Transformation Framework was anchored upon four pillars of Student Success, Teaching and Learning, Academic Research, Secure and Connected Campus. He said Microsoft commitment in Africa Education could be traced way back working with government and educational institutions.
“For us to zero in is a result of the big vision UB leadership has cross physical borders, taking it to the outside world and to achieve that is through technology as well as leveraging on outside knowledge and technology to impact on students,” said Mr Gichuru.
Commenting on the specifics of framework, Mr Gichuru mentioned student life cycle management from enrolment through graduation and beyond. He also said Documenting alumni, education transformation management workshops, finance automation and leveraging on secure power of Microsoft cloud to enable UB staff to conduct research in a cost-effective manner.
Other areas he envisioned included promoting the power of artificial intelligence to enable effective teaching and learning, training faculties on technology to enable lecturers to deliver effective and attractive teaching and learning. He added that, they also assisted UB staff to fully utilize Microsoft 365 as well as assisting students to have better resources and become Microsoft ambassadors.