Microsoft is doing an amazing job in supporting communities all over the world through their Unlimited Potential initiative. In a joint effort with Bahrain Internet Society, they've localized it for Bahrain, as Career Connection, with a focus on training unemployed Bahrainis on basics of computers.
The project started March 2006 with a batch of +100 students and I had the pleasure of being an instructor in the 10 weeks course. The curriculum is well designed and helped me and my students to navigate through the material with great enthusiasm. It included material on basics of computers, internet, web design, and of course the Microsoft Office suite of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, etc.
I had a mixture of skill sets in my students. Some were university grads with good basic skills. The course went on smoothly and I was quite content with the student feedback. I had a couple of set-backs though with people in the mid 20s who can't distinguish a right mouse click from a left mouse click but in general the attendance and the commitment were both high. High praises to well-committed young Bahrainis.
It's a pity though that there was NO media coverage of the program. I recall there was a press release which I can't find on the net, but nothing else. I already told Microsoft and BIS gentlemen about this and I believe they'll handle it better with the upcoming batches. I know BIS was very busy preparing for the Future IT event, but it is over now and they need to get their act on.
I'd like to thank Microsoft and BIS for their distinguished efforts and for giving me the opportunity to remember my old days of teaching Math and to reassure myself that I'm still a very good teacher :) And special thanks to Ghassan from Microsoft, Ahmed from BIS, and the team in AIT institute for organizing the program.