A memorandum of understanding for a new programme promising to kindle innovation and develop entrepreneurial skills among students was signed between Microsoft and Anna University on Friday. Named 'I Spark', the programme will provide designer softwares to 5.7 lakh students of Anna University and its affiliated colleges at no cost.
Students can download and use any of the 25 software packages categorised under developer tools, servers, etc. "Microsoft has no short-term expectations from this. We just want to give students friction-free access to technologies to explore their potential," said Microsoft senior vice-president S Somasegar.
The programme will not be used for commercial interests, Microsoft insists. "We will have virtual training centres where students can learn new technologies. It will stimulate local software economies by providing skills and entrepreneurship training keeping in mind the industry's requirement," said Somasegar.
A Microsoft survey of 100 students found that none wanted to go to the US for work. "About 43 said they would go abroad only when they had no other choice. It thus becomes important that those who stay here get all the resources," said Microsoft director of academia Pratima Amonkar.