Charles Clarke, the Education and Skills Secretary, said a new package of
ICT measures for schools and colleges would be introduced "to help
develop teaching skills across all education sectors, extend access to
online digital resources, and continue investment for an effective ICT
The measures will include:
- an extra £280m for e-learning credits;
- an extra £92m to develop College Online;
- £8 million for Online training for teachers next year;
- an extra £195 million to provide more laptops for teachers over the
next three years; and
- an extra £287m to provide all schools with broadband capability by 2006
this is on top of the £71m already announced for next year.
Mr Clarke said: "We have spent over £1 billion creating an ICT
infrastructure in schools, colleges and libraries, stimulating the content
market and training teachers and we are making £300 million available
between 2003-6 as e-learning credits to ensure access to paid for and free
The Secretary also announced the opening of 'Curriculum Online' - a
Government portal that allows access to lesson plans and enables teachers to
communicate with each other across the country.
The online curriculum service has additionally been integrated onto BBC
Online in a move the Government hopes will attract young people accessing
the site for entertainment.
Over 100,000 teachers have gained access to laptops through 'Laptops for
Teachers' - a scheme set up by the Government in 2001 - with a further
target to give two thirds of teachers personal access to a computer by 2006.
Prime Minister, Tony Blair, also recently announced further funding for
broadband connections in all schools by 2006. A cash injection for local
authorities of £920 million by 2005-6 has been forecast to meet this pledge.
Lack of Government funding has, in the past, been blamed for holding
tomorrow's skilled IT workforce back not providing necessary IT resources,
equipment and the training young students need.
In September last year, research published by the IT magazine,
Computeractive, on behalf of the National Computing Day campaign, found 80
per cent of the teachers it surveyed strongly felt the Government should
make investing in IT equipment a priority, whilst nearly eight out of 10
teachers felt that if more IT equipment were available, it would enable them
to teach their pupils better.
Last November, the Government oversaw a drive to encourage young girls to
enter IT, which will culminate in 250 teenagers attending a slumber party in
the Science Museum in March.
Richard Powell, © Shout99.com 2003