Letter: Access to the Net

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Eva Pascoe's article paints a misleading picture of the future of information and communications technology in schools.

The survey to which Ms Pascoe refers appears to be a DfEE Statistical Bulletin. The survey of schools was carried out in March 1998 and consequently gives the picture of provision before the Government introduced its implementation strategy for the National Grid for Learning and accompanying funding programmes.

Ms Pascoe's estimate of a further 20 years to connect all schools to the Internet therefore takes no account of more than pounds 700m that the Government is supporting to provide networks and infrastructure in schools. We confidently expect this investment, phased over four years, to enable us to reach our target of the connection of all schools, colleges and libraries to the National Grid for Learning by 2002. A further pounds 230m is being made available to train teachers in the effective use of ICT in the classroom.

The Government has no intention of allowing schools to go without computers and is in no way indifferent to the future of this country in the information age.

CHARLES CLARKE

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for School Standards

Department for Education and Employment

London SW1

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