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Thursday, February 11, 1999 Published at 14:18 GMT


Computers in schools a 'mixed picture'

The government wants a culture of technology in schools

If all schools in England and Wales are to be connected to the Internet, there needs to be an improvement in co-operation between education, private industry and the government.

The Schools Minister, Charles Clarke, says that the government's plans to develop information technology in schools will depend on more effective partnerships between commercial providers and the education sector.

[ image: Charles Clarke says that information technology in schools is a
Charles Clarke says that information technology in schools is a "massive priority"
Without such an integrated approach, the minister warned there would not be a consistent upgrading of educational technology. "At present the picture on the ground is mixed. Gaps in provision are unacceptable."

"The way that key information and communications technology players relate to each other must be improved upon," said the minister.

The government and businesses needed "proper partnerships" and "developers of material for schools' information technology should be working with those developing material for the high street stores".

"Schools could do more to develop relationships with local businesses which use cutting-edge technology on a daily basis."

Mr Clarke, speaking at the annual conference of the National Association of Advisers for Computers in Education in Liverpool, re-stated his government's commitment to creating an "information and communications technology culture in the classroom".

"It is vital that we exploit new technology and ideas and educate both teachers and children in when and how to use technology.

"If we do this, we will ensure that every child can leave school prepared to take their place in the world of work or continue their education with confidence."

The government has made an investment in information technology for schools a "massive priority", said the minister. This includes the National Grid for Learning, a flagship project which will link all schools to an Internet-based information network by 2002.

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