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Quest Alliance Bridges Computer Literacy gap With Support From Microsoft

YouthSpark is a part of Microsoft's global initiative with over 100 non-profit organizations in 55 countries globally, to close the computer science education skills gap for young people in local communities

Bangalore-based Quest Alliance has developed a toolkit focused on integrating technology inputs for careers and computer science training into current employability and entrepreneurship curriculum. With support from Microsoft, 40,000 youth have been impacted since the launch of the initiative in 2015. It aims to reach another 8000 more youth in the next one year.


With increasing use of technology, the need for digital skills at the work place and understanding coding is rising, especially for better employment opportunities. It is becoming critical for the young generation to become proficient in the use of computers, engage with programming and learn other digital literacy skills.


The program titled 'Microsoft YouthSpark' offers computer science modules that attempt to provide this digital ability that are customized for the Indian context and includes easy- to-understand classroom activities, work sheets, interactive peer engagements and video case studies. Instructor training and orientation materials are also used to ensure trainers are able to easily adopt methodologies and content, with continuous virtual support provided by Quest through its online trainer support platform. To date, Quest Alliance has partnered with over 40 institutes (25% formal institutes), and the program is being offered by 100 centers across 7 states in India (Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Telangana and selected North Eastern states). Close to 40 hours of curriculum is being provided by both online and brick and mortar training hubs.


"The program has so far impacted 40,000 youth," said Aakash Sethi, Founder & Executive Director, Quest Alliance. "And in keeping with the government's focus on strengthening the career prospects of the girl child, the initiative focuses on imparting computer proficiency to 20,000 girl students, we express our deep gratitude to Microsoft for this support, and am sure it will help us spread the initiative and the utilization of the toolkit will add to India's computer literacy initiatives' success."


All materials, approach and tools developed under this initiative has been scaled across Quest partners in order to build capacity of organizations that help to integrate digital literacy in existing employability and entrepreneurship programs for underserved youth.


YouthSpark is a part of Microsoft's global initiative with over 100 non-profit organizations in 55 countries globally, to close the computer science education skills gap for young people in local communities. These include NASSCOM Foundation and Quest Alliance in India. The grants are a component of the $75 mn commitment Microsoft made to increase access to computer science education around the world through Microsoft YouthSpark, as announced by Satya Nadella last year.


The program has support from Microsoft in the form of cash grants, content and other resources they need to bring computational thinking and problem-solving skills to young people in local communities which are important building blocks to help them succeed in today's tech-fueled economy. 


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