In a move to assist almost 500,000 of the youngest members of its populace, Wales will become one of the world’s first countries to give its maintained schools the benefit of free Microsoft Office 365 access.
This will include all local authority schools, with the government of Wales paying for the educational establishments to have full access to programs including PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Access and Outlook. This decision aims to reduce running costs for parents, help the budgets of schools and inspire increased use of technology among its students.
Wales Education Minister Kirsty Williams said about the move:
“This will reduce the burden on schools to pay for their own licensing fees and also ensure all our schools have the same level of access to the digital tools they need to progress these skills in our learners. This is vital as we aim to reduce the attainment gap and increase standards in our schools.”
Just under half a million young people in Wales will be afforded the ability to install the most current version of Office 365 ProPlus on their own equipment as a feature of the £1.2m investment. Pupils will be encouraged to collaborate with each other and continue their learning journey at home via the same programs they use in schools on up to five of their devices.
Chief Executive for Microsoft in the UK, Cindy Rose, stated:
“The introduction of Office 365 will be transformational for both teachers and pupils, empowering them to collaborate more effectively, saving time and generating better learning outcomes. Equally, Office 365 provides students with valuable skills to help them obtain employment following school.”
An initiative called ‘Cracking the Code’ is a plan by the Welsh Government to increase its population’s ability to understand and use coding. The investment deal will lend help to this plan, fostering an interest in learning code by way of the Educational Edition of the popular game Minecraft, which includes Code Builder. Through this iteration of the game, both pupils and teachers alike will be able to learn coding skills with Microsoft MakeCode.
Although the online software version will still be readily available for use in libraries, users will be able to access Office 365 ProPlus in a secure manner through the government’s digital learning platform in both English and Welsh language.
This choice to make Office 365 ProPlus fully available for pupils in schools will also reinforce and back the government in Wales’ Digital Competence Framework (DCF). Launched back in 2016, the DCF’s goal is to assist people in acquiring and developing useful skills to help them prosper in what is fast becoming a digital-dependent world workplace.
If your organisation currently uses Microsoft Office 365 and you have any questions or concerns for your business in regard to this product and its latest version, you can contact our helpful team at WM Reply. We are adept specialists in using Microsoft technology to provide solutions to business problems.