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UNESCO and Microsoft announce higher education ICT task force


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Microsoft Corp. today announced a joint task force to help higher education institutions worldwide meet the growing challenge of supporting economic stimulus efforts and work-force development strategies. The UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher Education and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will create a strategic plan of action to identify how ICT can be used by governments as a catalyst for change.

The announcement was made at the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE), which opened today and is being attended by close to 100 ministers of education, senior education officials and policy advisors. The WCHE is also focusing on critical issues around reduced funding for education globally as a result of the economic crisis and the need for governments to find affordable measures for short-term skills training and work force enhancement in support of economic recovery and growth. Many delegations in attendance from developing regions emphasized the longer-term challenges of sustainable higher education reform and capacity-building.

The UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher Education and ICT will analyze the findings and recommendations of the WCHE, in addition to feedback from global higher education experts and stakeholders, to identify key initiatives that will promote more effective use of ICT in post-secondary teaching, learning and research.