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£1M BOOST FOR TEACHERS' COMPUTER SKILLS

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Education and employment minister Lord Henley has announced a further£1m to provide primary and secondary school t...
Education and employment minister Lord Henley has announced a further£1m to provide primary and secondary school teachers with portable computers, curriculum software and links to the Internet.

Lord Henley made his announcement in a speech to delegates at the National Association of Advisors on Computers in Education conference in Brighton, and afterwards said:

'This is excellent news for teachers in primary and secondary schools and shows the Government is backing up with money this key area of education - information technology.

'It means that by shortly after the end of this financial year: nearly 1,500 teachers in primary schools and secondary schools will each have received a powerful, portable, multi-media computer; each will also have received the latest CD-ROM curriculum software.

'All the evidence we have to date suggests that this pilot project, which we began last year and which we are currently evaluating as part of the education departments' Superhighways Initiative, is proving an immense success. Providing teachers with these powerful portable computers is boosting their confidence and competence in the classroom - where it matters most.

'Providing more teachers with more computers will build on this success.'

'This will have a tremendous impact too on training for teachers. Last year Gillian Shephard announced plans for a national curriculum for initial teacher training.

'The Teacher Training Agency is taking this work forward and the place of IT and its uses in teaching methods is under consideration, but is certain to have a key part to play. Initiatives like the one I am announcing extra funding for today can go a long way towards supporting this work.

'This announcement highlights the government's continuing commitment to developing technology in education. Only yesterday, Ms Shephard also announced£100,000 for a pilot Intranet project which will allow four specialist Technology schools with video conferencing facilities, the opportunity to develop an electronic whiteboard.

'Through video conferencing, teachers can now use the electronic whiteboard to teach more than one class.

'These announcements, and the range of policies we have developed under the umbrella of the Government's Information Society

'Initiative to build the Information Society in Britain, means: there are now, on average, 13 computers in every primary school compared with 10 in 1994; there are now, on average, 96 computers in every secondary school, compared with 85 in 1994;

'This adds up to real progress in this key area and hammers home the message that the Government puts education at the top of its agenda and recognises the key skill of IT in raising standards not only among our young people but also their teachers.'

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