Students worldwide will compete in national championships of the annual Microsoft Office Specialist Competition, with two finalists winning a trip to Microsoft's Washington headquarters this summer.
There will be a grand prize awards banquet and a tour of the Microsoft facilities. Additional prizes, including laptop computers, will also be awarded to regional winners.
"We are looking forward to an exciting competition again in 2004," said David Saedi, chief executive at Certiport, which runs certification tests for Microsoft Office.
"Our goal is to raise awareness and provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their updated desktop computing skills and achieve career success."
Last year's competition attracted nearly 50,000 entrants from around the world and produced 33 national champions, aged between 15 and 36 years old.
The competition attracted entries from students in 42 countries including Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and the US. Last year's world champions travelled from Ireland and Italy to Microsoft's Redmond headquarters to celebrate their achievement.
For more information about the 2004 Microsoft Office Specialist Academic Competition along with the opportunity to track the top students' scores, see the competition website
This was first published in February 2004