Headlines: November 11th, 1998

The Government has spelled out the nature of the deal it expects to strike with IT and telecommunications businesses which want to be part of the massive planned expansion into schools and colleges.The price for a share of L700 million pounds worth of investment in the National Grid for Learning is a commitment to developments which will help educational institutions, and price tags that schools and colleges can afford.

The National Grid for Learning is both an architecture (or structure) of educationally valuable content on the Internet, and a programme for developing the means to access that content in schools, libraries, colleges, universities, workplaces, homes and elsewhere.

Its content will eventually be accessible through the television set through digital interactive broadcasting, and the long-term aim for the Grid is to be a world-leading learning tool for all ages.

The Government is aiming to encourage new supply models for the equipment and service lines that will make all this possible, a prospect which amounts to a tripling of the educational market for the education sector by 2002.

In return for a share of that business, the Government will be looking for the development of high quality learning software, broadcast programming and on-line content at value prices. It also wants good prices and a commitment to technology development from telecommunications firms that will give schools access to fast-speed connections.

And it is looking for service firms to take up the challenge of supplying, maintaining and renewing the new networks.

For further details see the Open for Business paper at www.dfee.gov.uk/grid/index.htm