Addressing the International Conference on Technology and Education, Mrs Liddell said: The government has set ambitious targets to drive the national grid for Learning forward between now and 2002.
'In setting these targets we recognised that effective use of ICT in schools depends on progress in four areas - equipment, connections, training and content.
'With regards equipment the government has set the target of having one modern computer for every five secondary school pupils by 2002. Following the Budget we now have the resources to halve the previous primary school target ratio, so that by 2003 there will be less than eight pupils to every computer.
'Our research shows that one of the biggest factors influencing teachers use of ICT in the classroom is ownership of a computer. We are therefore setting up a scheme which will allow teachers to buy computers at the lowest possible cost.
'The government is committed to having a world-class school system in Scotland, founded on excellence. A school system in which all young people, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to learn the skills which they will need to take their place as citizens of a modern Scotland.
'Through the National Grid for Learning we aim to achieve excellence in ICT for all our schools. The grid is an inclusive project which will give every pupil access to high-quality opportunities, regardless of the geographical or social circumstances in which they find themselves.
'Our vision for the National Grid for Learning extends beyond schools and into further and higher education and lifelong learning.
'This is already happening in Glasgow, where a partnership of the 10 further education colleges in the city, supported by the four local universities, national and local government and other agencies, have established the Glasgow Telecolleges Network. As the GTN is developed, it will provide a model for the Further Education element of the National Grid for Learning in Scotland.
'In the higher education sector the use of ICT is already very advanced. All the Scottish Universities are connected by a set of four interlinked metropolitan area networks.
'The Scottish higher education sector has been quick to exploit the potential of the high-speed network, and the government has supported academics with funding for advanced teaching projects as well as for staff development activities to encourage the spread of innovative methods of teaching and learning.
'The Highlands and Islands of Scotland present an enormous opportunity for using ICT to improve educational opportunities. The University of the Highlands and Islands Project aims to develop new opportunities for higher education available to the people of the Highlands and Islands and beyond.
'To increase the opportunities for people to improve their skills and to encourage them to make learning a lifelong activity we are setting up a Scottish University for Industry. ICT will have a major part to play in achieving the aims of the Scottish UfI and will revolutionise the way people learn.
'The Scottish UfI will be designed to be responsive to the needs of learners, providing support to employers and employees in meeting their skills needs, connecting those who want to learn with ways of doing so.
'Students will access learning through learning centres, which could be at work, at a college or school, a library, shopping centre or at home - wherever is most convenient to them.'