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Saturday, November 28, 1998 Published at 01:34 GMT


Teachers lacking e-mail connections

Few pupils have their own e-mail addresses at school

Fewer than one in ten secondary school teachers have an e-mail address, according to a government survey.

The figures are even worse for teachers in primary and special schools, while pupils lag even further behind.

As part of its drive to create a National Grid for Learning - a network of online educational resources for schools - the government wants to see around 75% of teachers and 50% of pupils and pupils using their own e-mail addresses by 2002.

But the survey results, published by the Department for Education and Employment, suggest that just 8.8% of teachers in secondary schools have e-mail addresses, along with 1.7% in primary schools and 2% in special schools.

[ image: Charles Clarke:
Charles Clarke: "A quarter of schools already have access to the Internet and I am very encouraged by this"
The same is true for just 2.7% of secondary school pupils, 0.2% of primary school pupils and less than 1% of special schools pupils.

Another aim of the National Grid for Learning programme is that all schools, colleges, universities and libraries should be connected to the Internet by 2002.

In this area, the figures are more encouraging. Eighty-three per cent of secondary schools, 17% of primary schools, and 31% of special schools are said to be wired up.

The survey's other findings include:

  • Each school computer is shared by an average of 18 pupils at primary level, nine at secondary level and four in special schools.

  • Forty-five per cent of computers in primary schools are more than five years old, compared to 34% in secondary schools and 37% in special schools.

  • On average, primary schools spend £2,649 each on information and communication technology (ICT), with secondary schools spending £33,259 each and special schools spending £6,034 each.

The Schools Minister, Charles Clarke, said the government's recent £700m investment in ICT for schools would help ensure that its goals were met by 2002.

"The survey will provide the baseline for monitoring progress towards meeting our target of ensuring that all schools are connected to the Internet by 2002.

"The government is fully committed to ensuring that all schools and teachers are in a position to use ICT to enhance learning and to prepare young people with the ICT skills needed for the 21st century."

The March 1998 survey was based on responses from 938 primary, 977 secondary and 453 special schools in England.

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