Yesterday, I wrote about the IT Academy programme in the context of students achieving industry-recognised qualifications whilst still at school, TAFE or university, and I quoted a few examples of different school and tertiary education systems that were offering it to their students.
What I hadn’t read at the time was that it’s just been announced that the Hawaii Public Library System are now going to offer their users the same opportunities to take the 350 Microsoft Digital Literacy and IT Academy study programmes free. All their users need is a library card, and then they can take the courses in the library or at home. And if they want to, they can then take a certification exam to get Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Technology Associate or Microsoft Certified Professional certifications.
According to Donald Horner, the chairman of the Hawaii State Board of Education:
IT certifications are increasingly recognised as valuable credentials that give young people expanded career opportunities. The Microsoft IT Academy ensures patrons equal access to IT training and certification through all libraries across the state, regardless of location or economic status.
Hawaii’s library system is unique as the only statewide public library system in the US, and I noticed quite a few innovative ideas on their website - like the ability to borrow electronic books for ereaders. They even have a neat ‘snapshot of a day’, which shows that on one day in November 2010, they server 18,204 customers, answered 8,642 questions and loaned 25,304 library materials.