Wales is to become one of the first countries to give local authority schools free access to Microsoft 365. The investment will help around 467,000 young people access technology and reduce costs for both families and headteachers.
The Welsh Government will pay for all 1,521 ‘maintained’ schools to have access to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint. All teachers and students will be able to download and install the latest version of Office 365 ProPlus on up to five personal devices, enabling pupils to collaborate and learn at home.
“I’m proud to say we’re one of the first countries in the world to take this progressive approach to providing schools with this software,” said Kirsty Williams, minister for Education for Wales. “Through our curriculum reforms we want all learners to have relevant high-level digital, literacy and numeracy skills, and access to these applications is an important step towards achieving that.”
The deal also includes Minecraft: Education Edition and Code Builder. The game allows teachers and students to learn about coding and supports the Welsh Government’s Cracking the Code plan to encourage it.
“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,” said Cindy Rose, chief executive of Microsoft UK. “Equally, Office 365 provides students with valuable skills to help them obtain employment following school.”
Similarly, with Minecraft: Education Edition, students will develop computational thinking skills in an immersive and classroom-friendly format that sparks creativity and innovation. This agreement ensures Wales retains its position as a world leader in digital education delivery.”
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