In recognition of International Youth Day on August 12th, 2013, computer giant Microsoft has introduced the 4Afrika Scholarship programme, through which the company says it will provide mentorship, leadership and technical training, certification, university-level education and employment opportunities for promising African students.
Mentorship will be provided by Microsoft employees from around the world, and employment opportunities will include internships and both part-time and full-time jobs within Microsoft as well as with the company’s more than 10,000 partners across Africa.
Through the company’s 4Afrika Initiative and YouthSpark programme, Microsoft says it has committed to helping millions of Africans get critical skills for entrepreneurship and employability. The 4Afrika Scholarship programme is one way the company intends to meet that goal, by ensuring that promising youth have access to the education, resources and skills they need to succeed, regardless of their financial situation. To help redress gender disparity in higher education in Africa, the company is actively encouraging young women to apply.
Microsoft also announced that in the coming year, it will provide 4Afrika Scholarships to 1,000 youth to pursue associate degrees in computer science and business administration with the first participating higher education institution, University of the People, an American online university dedicated to the democratization of higher education which is affiliated with the United Nations, the Clinton Global Initiative, NYU and Yale Law School ISP.
Together with participating education institutions, Microsoft says its goal with the 4Afrika Scholarship programme is to level the playing field for talented young African minds who might not otherwise have the resources, enabling them to get the education and skills they need to thrive in technology-related fields.
Students wishing to apply for 4Afrika Scholarships to attend University of the People must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma and proficient English, as all its coursework is English-language. They must also have access to the Internet to be able to participate in the online classes. To help address the connectivity issue, the company is making available working space in its Microsoft Innovation Centres in Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda and Botswana for successful applicants near those locations. In addition, Microsoft is working with various partner hubs across Africa to make similar arrangements for students in other locations.
Applications for 4Afrika Scholarships to University of the People can be submitted online at http://www.uopeople.org/4afrika. The first 4Afrika Scholarship students will begin classes in November 2013. Further information about the 4Afrika Scholarship programme is available at http://www.youth4afrika.com.