On 17th August last Wednesday, over 300 participants gathered at the Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Center in Phnom Penh to be a part of the Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) launch. In partnership with local non-governmental organisation STEM Cambodia, the program aims to develop the digital talent in the Kingdom and make an impact. Through a student community based platform, youths will be given access to the latest tools and resources in order to develop their technology skills.
Over the next 12 months, through STEM Cambodia, around 100 students from various tertiary institutions will be selected to become MSPs. These partners will act as ambassadors for Microsoft on their school grounds, and will have the opportunity to contribute their technological knowledge to their classmates via sharing sessions and events.
“We are committed to empowering young people to achieve a better future and close the youth opportunity divide. Our collaboration with STEM Cambodia to bring the Microsoft Student Partners program to Cambodian students will help increase access to technology and develop the technical skills needed in an increasingly tech-fueled global economy,” said Ms Rena Chai, Marketing and Operations Lead, SEA New Markets, Microsoft.
MSPs will be provided access to trainings, the latest technologies and reference materials, and the chance to rub shoulders with Microsoft professionals, working alongside these experts. Another prospect of becoming an MSP is the ability to shape one’s leadership and communication skills via the organisation of events, workshops, hackathons, and technology demonstrations.
“We are thrilled to be able to work with Microsoft to provide Cambodian students with a global technology platform to build their technical knowledge, leadership and communication skills. These are areas critical for human resource development in Cambodia. We strongly believe that all youth should be equipped with a basic understanding of computer science and computational thinking to prepare them for the future.Through this program, Microsoft is providing these opportunities to university students at public and private institutions,” said Mr Allen Dodgson Tan, Managing Director of STEM Cambodia.
Amongst those present at the launch were His excellency William Heidt, U.S. Ambassador, His excellency Youk Ngoy, Secretary of state – Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, and Dr. Chan Roath, Director General – Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
Speaking to the audience, Mr Heidt mentioned the need to keep up with Cambodia’s growing IT scene, citing that the sector is expected to double in size within the next five years. However, he also noted that the lack of human resources was one of the main reasons the IT sector is being held back from reaching its full potential in Cambodia.
“That’s where programs like the Microsoft Student Partners program can make a big difference. The great thing about the MSP program is that it is a peer-to-peer network, where Student Partners are given the tools to serve as technology leaders. These networks are a great way to supplement formal technology courses of study and raise the level of tech awareness and skills among young people,” said Mr Heidt.
Students interested in becoming MSPs do not have to be from an IT, Engineering, or tech related background; they are, however, required to be studying full-time in a tertiary education institution, polytechnic, or university. MSPs will work together to organise events and reach desired outcomes decided as a group. These events can range from general workshops on how to use Microsoft softwares, to campaigns on teaching their classmates to develop applications.
Already present in more than 100 countries across the globe, the MSP program has a collective of 656 students from 275 tertiary institutions. Many former partners have given back to the program as mentors and presented their technology ideas on Microsoft Image Cup – a worldwide student competition.
For more information on the Microsoft Student Partners Program in Cambodia, keep updated with the official Microsoft Cambodia Facebook page here!