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Pakistan has joined the league of some of the top countries of the world by providing a Certification from Home Platform for Microsoft Certifications for its students. An agreement was reached between the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan and Microsoft to provide this Certification free of cost to the first 2000 students who register for the opportunity. It’s a major step not only for bridging the gap between education and employability, but also for helping students acquire professional skills while they have more time during this Covid period.

Microsoft and HEC have been working together in a strategic partnership over the last decade to promote the use of information technology in the Higher Education sector. The partnership covers all public and private sector universities in the country, with multiple programs aimed at upskilling theyouth and providing them with multiple platforms which can be used to help build up their capacity and showcase their technical potential at a global level.

Under this strategic partnership,a certification platform has been launched to provide students with a prescribed curriculum roadmap, a kind of a blueprint for technology skill development and certification. Specific areas of study include Productivity, Computer Science, Data Science, and IT Infrastructure. The offered Certifications of MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) and MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist)provide useful credentials for individuals seeking to validate their skills and advance their careers. The exams covered include all the productivity tools under Office 365, but also cover tech intensive certification paths, such as Cloud Fundamental courses covering Azure Fundamentals, Dynamics 365 Fundamentals and Microsoft 365 Fundamentals.

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Many students have found that they have more time at hand during the long COVID-19 break,which can give them the space to focus on developing marketable skills in addition to theoretical knowledge.To support such students, HEC plans to introduce the Certification from Home Platform initiative for students across Pakistan. Under this initiative, the first 2,000 students who register for a certification would get a free certification offer on their choice of available MOS or MTA offerings. The students can conveniently select the technology area of their choice and not only learn at home with in-depth tutorials and self-study videos but also take the Exam online from the comfort of their home.

Commenting on the relationship between HEC & Microsoft, Chairman HEC Dr. Tariq Banuri said,

”Digital transformation has been at the forefront of every industry in the last few years, and education is no different. Working with Microsoft, HEC has been able to bring in a set of tools and technology offerings that can help establish a technology-rich culture in higher education. Enabling students to acquire more advanced skills not only helps them in their careers, it also strengthens the technical potential ofPakistani industry as well as academia.”

Microsoft has partnered with Certiport – a Pearson VUE Business, to deliver this program for universities under HEC’s leadership. To ensure the best exam experience for the end user, without facing any lag or other downtime, Azure is the cloud platform of choice which is being used to host the IaaS resources to deliver this complete experience. The platform has been used to deliver more than 120,000 exams globally, with great reviews from teachers and students. Azure is also the cloud platform of choice for multiple universities across the country, being used for backup and disaster recovery strategies, to host Universities webservices, and as a driver for a Universities Cyber Security strategy using tools such as Azure Security Center and Sentinel, the Cloud-native SIEM of Microsoft.

Country Education Lead Microsoft-Pakistan; Mr Jibran Jamshad shares that “today’s workplace requires adaptability to frequent technology changes and problem-solving strategies. The variety of skills you can learn in the Microsoft Certification Program allows you to display your flexibility to current and prospective employers. These credentials demonstrate that you can use a variety of strategies to solve problems and resolve the concerns of consumers as well as stakeholders more effectively” 

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