Two-thirds of junior schools now on Net

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The Independent Online
MORE THAN half of schools are now connected to the Internet, according to a survey published yesterday of technology in schools.

Nearly two-thirds of primary schools are online - up from 17 per cent a year ago - and only one in five secondaries does not have access to the information superhighway.

Ministers said the figures were proof that the Government was on course to meet its target of putting all schools and colleges on to the Internet by 2002.

A survey showed there was now one computer for every 13 primary school pupils and one computer for every nine secondary pupils. Last year there was one computer to 18 primary school pupils and one to eight secondary pupils.

Detailed figures about the age of the equipment used will be available at the end of the year, but the Government insisted that the proportion of out-of-date technology was falling.

Figures collected in March 1998, the latest available, showed that 64 per cent of computers in primary schools and 57 per cent in secondaries were more than three years old. Up to 45 per cent were at least five year old.

Jacqui Smith, the Schools minister, said: "Schools are reaping the benefits of the huge investment we are making in the National Grid for Learning to prepare them for the 21st century.

"The amount primary schools have spent on information and communications technology for teaching and learning has more than doubled, from pounds 49m in 1998 to pounds 105m this year.

"The number of both primary and secondary teachers feeling confident in the use of technology has increased to two-thirds.

"With new teacher training packages available we expect to see further improvements."