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Palabras de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias en la sesión de clausura del “Microsoft in Education Global Forum”

Barcelona, 14.03.2014

Me alegra mucho compartir hoy con todos ustedes esta sesión de clausura del Microsoft in Education Global Forum sobre la importancia de transformar la educación a través de las nuevas tecnologías. Un encuentro que por primera vez se celebra en España, aquí en Cataluña, y que se consolida en cada edición —ésta es ya la novena. Sin duda es una cita de gran prestigio, que presenta un futuro muy prometedor y que a todos los que nos importa la educación de nuestros hijos —la de las jóvenes generaciones de nuestra sociedad— y su porvenir, nos interesa muy especialmente.

Enhorabona a Microsoft per aquesta iniciativa que acull l'estimada ciutat de Barcelona i que ha reunit a més de mil persones entre educadors, líders escolars, responsables educatius de tot el món i representants de les Administracions Públiques.

I enhorabona també a Barcelona pel primer premi “i capital” que ha estat atorgat aquesta mateixa setmana per la Comissió Europea degut a la seva dedicació en l’ús de les noves tecnologies en favor dels seus ciutadans.

So, thank you so much for your intation; but I would specially like to thank all of you, the participants, for your contribution to a crucial issue for the present and future of our youth, and of all our citizens, and societies. I trust you all had a good and productive stay among us, and that you also found some time to enjoy this fun and beautiful Catalan of Barcelona capital, of which all Spaniards feel so proud of.

The words of those who spoke before me today clearly illustrate their commitment to improving education, and their pragmatic outlook, which seeks to perfect training by constantly taking full advantage of the latest technologies. That’s what this is all about: use technology to be more effective and more efficient at one of the oldest and most basic responsibilities we have had all throughout human civilisation, to train, to educate, to deliver better skills that allow us to improve our living conditions; to work, perform and make a living; to raise a family; to serve or help others; and indeed also to continue our quest for knowledge and understanding.

In this regard, to transform education is absolutely essential —as you have extensively pointed out in these fruitful working sessions, full of reflection and debate. And this transformation is based on access, use and even mastery of the new technologies that lead to a better student performance and lay the foundation for a strong, competitive economy; one that is able to generate wealth and jobs, while it also improves by incorporating those better human and professional resources

Globalisation and technological breakthroughs have clearly changed the world, the way we live and do things; and, of course, that includes the way we educate. This old concept, or human activity, faces new challenges —which, in the 21st century, encompass personalised teaching, skills acquisition, and lifelong learning... and continuously training the teachers. Today we know that education marked by an accumulation of facts is absolutely not enough; that learning is not an activity limited to a specific timeframe, because what we learn now, the knowledge acquired today, will not always be appropriate or enough to address the needs and challenges of the future.

Therefore, students need to obtain, from an early age, the basic skills to perform in often uncertain and shifting environments. In every circumstance, but even more so in an increasingly competitive context and in the ever-evolving knowledge-based society in which we live, each individual needs to develop –to maximise− all his or her capacities to the utmost.

Students, educators, trainees and also professionals —even parents!—, will be much better off if they develop the ability to constantly adapt, innovate and stay on the learning curve of any technological advance that may either give them an advantage, or allow them to keep up with the pace of change and understand the implications and transformations it brings.

But of course exclusion is currently still a threat; a threat defined, among other factors, by precisely the lack of those basic skills or that ability; more so than just the pure and simple technological gap of having or not the equipment at one’s disposal.

In this regard, to transform education is absolutely essential —as you have extensively pointed out in these fruitful working sessions, full of reflection and debate. And this transformation is based on access, use and even mastery of the new technologies that lead to a better student performance reduce deep out rates and lay the foundation for a strong, competitive economy; one that is able to generate wealth and jobs, while it also improves by incorporating those better human and professional resources.

Our goal is for young people to acquire those necessary skills that ensure their personal and professional future, enabling them to successfully enter the workforce because they can adapt to the economy's needs. By doing so, not only will they be more successfully and more happy, they will also definitely contribute to society’s progress as a whole, a purpose that we must always bear in mind. In this training process the work of teachers is essential, and their impact is multiplied when carried out within the framework of integrated schools, effectively promoting innovation and driving social mobility.

Well, Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends. Thank you again for having me here today to formally close this Microsoft in Education Global Forum. I really look forward to learn more about your discussions these days, and I hope that it will continue, in future editions, to promote —with the same generosity and long-term vision— this open space for reflection and communication that is so useful to all of us. I wish you all a safe travel home or maybe a lovely time here in our country and in the city if you choose to stay on for the weekend.

Thank you all very much.

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