Pioneering projects open up the web

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The Independent Online

The ICT Learning Centres announced by the Prime Minister today are the first of up to 1,000 designed to open up the Internet to disadvantaged communities.

The ICT Learning Centres announced by the Prime Minister today are the first of up to 1,000 designed to open up the Internet to disadvantaged communities.

The pioneer projects in what will be a £650 million initiative will trial innovative approaches to learning using the Internet and other computer-based technology.

Commenting on the initiative today, Minister for Learning and Technology Michael Wills said: "We want everyone to have access to information and communications technology (ICT) so they can make full use of the opportunities available in the information age.

"We want adults of all ages to access learning opportunities, develop their careers and make imaginative use of ICT in their businesses.

"We can only do this if we bridge the gap between the computer haves and have-nots. Many people just cannot afford the access, others are scared and do not want to take the first steps towards learning.

"ICT Learning Centres will be the key to bridging the gap."

The seven projects backed in today's initiative are:

Mr Wills also announced a doubling of funding for the National Grid for Learning to £205 million next year.

The NGfL funds the connection of schools to the Internet, implementing the Government's target that all will be online by 2002.

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