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Microsoft Engineers Are To Become Computer Science High-School Teachers

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Following the recently published manifesto, which suggested, that the federal government should take steps aimed to increase the number of STEM graduates as well as make it easier for immigrant STEM workers to stay in the country, Microsoft decided to assume a more active position on the question and volunteered to send over a hundred of its employees to become computer science instructors in high-schools nationwide.

The number of CS graduates has fallen dramatically over the last decade and every year more and more highly-paid and promising IT jobs and computer-related positions remain unfilled. For women this situation is even more dramatic, thus the study shows, the number of women who currently major in CS and choose to get into computer-related professions is extremely low and is further shrinking.

Given all this, Microsoft, the world’s biggest company in information technology and software production, decided that it did not want to wait in vain for the government to pull its wits together and launched a new year-long initiative aimed to provoke students’ interest in studying computer science and encourage more young people to take it as their college major. The project is closely supervised by Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, who thinks it is going to make a major change to the way this problem has been dealt before.

All the participants of the project will be required to teach high-school computer classes at least 4 hours a week. Schools appear to be very cooperative and agree to schedule classes for the early morning so that Microsoft engineers will have enough time to return to their workplace afterwards. Although the project is very much beneficent, those who opt to take part in it will receive a modest pay, which will be enough to cover the associated expenses.

The program started 3 year ago as a spontaneous movement of a Harvard master’s graduate, Kevin Wang, who majored in education before joining the Microsoft team. Back in 2009 Kevin Wang started teaching computer science to Seattle public high school students on his way to work. When the Microsoft management learned about this, they offered Mr.Wang’s effort their financial assistance. Since that time the program, which came to be known as TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), has expanded to be used in 25 more Seattle high-schools as well as those in California, Utah, North Dakota, Washington, that are to benefit from it starting this fall.

Microsoft is seeking partnership with other high-tech companies in the program. At present only 19 out of 110 participants are not its employees. The project is especially interesting since it requires cooperation from those companies, which in real life came to be cut-throat competitors.

However, the project can be impeded because the volunteers are mostly not certified to be teachers and thus will have to co-teach with professional instructors, who will prevent the school district requirements from being violated.



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