Microsoft wants to increase access to computer science education across the globe. It pledged this week to give $75 million toward that effort over the next three years, with the money being distributed to various nonprofits as both cash and resources, with a focus on bringing education to kids from groups that are still under-represented in tech.
"Computational thinking is going to be relevant in pretty much every aspect of our economy."
Among the programs being funded is Technology Education and Literacy in Schools, or TEALS, a Microsoft initiative to put tech experts in schools for two years to train educators on how to teach computer science. The program served just over 130 schools last year; in three years, Microsoft wants it to be helping 700 schools.
"Computational thinking is going to be relevant in pretty much every aspect of our economy," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at a conference yesterday, "and it's got to start by us saying, "Let's bring that skill," so that it's taught in our schools like biology or like chemistry, so that computer science and computational thinking becomes that mainstream. This commitment of ours will fund lots of nonprofit organizations and communities to be able to bring that."
Microsoft says that its broader philanthropic efforts toward this goal include partnerships with nonprofits in 80 countries, located across Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Those partnerships focus on computer science, but also more core computing skills as well.
Nadella and Microsoft are clearly not alone in wanting to increase CS education. Just this week, New York City set a deadline — 10 years away — for all public schools to be offering computer science to their students, underscoring just how import of a skill this is being viewed as for people entering the workforce.