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Greg Dyke
"Rise to challenge of Playstation generation"
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The BBC's Nick Higham
"He appreciates the importance of old fashioned public service broadcasting"
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Friday, 19 November, 1999, 21:53 GMT
Blunkett welcomes Dyke's education commitment
BBC Online produces a wealth of educational material

Education Secretary David Blunkett has welcomed the announcement by incoming BBC director general Greg Dyke that the corporation will make "educating the nation" a top priority.

Mr Dyke said the corporation was uniquely placed to encourage children and adults to learn by utilising its digital resources and providing interactive learning.

He wants to spend an extra 200m a year on the BBC's education service, but says he will need extra government funding to do so.

Power of digital

Mr Blunkett, in a letter to Mr Dyke, said he welcomed his comments.

"Many policy objectives from both our departments share your vision of harnessing the power of the digital media to offer everyone, at different stages in their lives, the opportunity to flourish through learning," Mr Blunkett said.

The education secretary said he looked forward to working with Mr Dyke to deliver "practical benefit to learners and good value for all of us as licence fee payers."

Greg Dyke: "You compete or you perish"
Mr Dyke said he was keen to fire the popular imagination and bring learning to all rather than just an intellectual and cultural elite and said he wanted to "rise to the challenge of the Playstation generation".

This will involve making compelling content that children enjoy and will learn from, including using popular programmes - such as EastEnders and Grange Hill - and the new interactive digital technology.

Dyke's vision of the future

He spoke at a lecture in the City of London on Thursday night sponsored by The Spectator and Zurich Financial Services.

It set out his vision of a BBC in the traditions of the corporation's founder, Sir John Reith. He will put his plans into practice when he succeeds Sir John Birt in April.

Mr Dyke, who arrived at the BBC less than three weeks ago, believes if the corporation can deliver its vision, it will have "made a major contribution to the learning society, which, arguably, no other organisation in the country can deliver".

Compete or perish

But he also issued a warning that iIf the BBC does not act, millions of people could be left "without an education and a future".

"You compete or you perish", he said, referring to global competition and the rapid introduction of changing technologies.

Learning will be possible both in the home, with education programming and BBC Online, or at centres based at BBC local radio stations throughout the UK.

The focus for adults will be on literacy and numeracy, with particular attention paid to IT literacy because "without that, access to the new world is barred".

Despite improvements in both areas during the past decade, international comparisons show the UK delivering well in high qualifications, but only to a minority, he said.

The editor of The Spectator, Boris Johnson, said the lecture "could not be more timely".

He said: "Greg Dyke's plans for BBC television and radio will, over time, have a deep impact on audiences in Britain and beyond.

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See also:
01 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Dyke launches BBC review
25 Jun 99 |  BBC after Birt
The challenges ahead for Dyke

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