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Microsoft expands the YouthSpark program, invests £48m

Microsoft announced yesterday it's expanding the YouthSpark program so that children everywhere have access to computer science.

To do that, it's dishing out $75 million (£48m) commitment in community investments over the next three years. The goal is “to increase access to computer science education for all youth, especially for those from under-represented backgrounds” globally.

However, a spokeswoman told The Register on Thursday that there are as yet no details on where that money would be spent.

In the U.S., where the TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) program brings computer science education to high school students and teachers, this flagship program of YouthSpark will increase mightily, going from 131 schools in 18 states to nearly 700 schools in 33 states in the next three years, it says in a Microsoft press release.

“If we are going to solve tomorrow’s global challenges, we must come together today to inspire young people everywhere with the promise of technology,” said Nadella. “We can’t leave anyone out.”

YouthSpark is a global initiative to increase access for all youth to learn computer science, empowering them to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.

“Computer science is a foundational subject — like algebra, chemistry or physics — for learning how the world works, yet it’s offered in less than 25 per cent of American high schools,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

“We need to increase access to computer science and computational thinking for all students, especially those from diverse populations, by partnering across the industry and with teachers and schools to turn this situation around and change the paradigm for developing a more diverse tech talent pipeline.”