Dyke plans pounds 200m education strategy

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The Independent Online
GREG DYKE announced a pounds 200m strategy last night to improve the BBC's provision of education for adults and children. The proposal represents a 50 per cent increase in the corporation's education budget.

Mr Dyke was delivering a lecture sponsored by The Spectator magazine, and set out for the first time his vision of the future of the BBC. He has just taken up his role as director general designate, and takes over from Sir John Birt in April.

His plans include new digital television channels for pre-school and older children. "The pre-school service will offer a traditional digital TV channel with new British programmes," he said. "In addition there will be online interactive learning sites for young children and their parents."

The service for older children will be built around new drama, entertainment and factual programmes. It will be interactive, with children able to talk to presenters and each other.

Mr Dyke also said: "The BBC wants to develop a complete bank of interactive digital modules to support the entire national curricula for primary schools. It means that tomorrow's school child will have multi-media content at the desktop, subject by subject, lesson by lesson. Classroom learning will become fully interactive."

The third plank of the strategy is to build adult education opportunities. The corporation, he said, will provide "learning journeys", on BBC1 and BBC2, complemented by network and local radio and supported by the BBC's Internet service, BBC Online.

He pointed to the low level of educational attainment of many adults. "One in five have such poor literacy skills that they are unable to use The Yellow Pages and one in four have such poor numeracy skills that they cannot calculate simple change. Only a handful of developed nations have problems as bad as these."

He added: "Politicians of all parties recognise this. They talk of a `learning revolution'."

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