Headlines: March 16th, 1999

In a move to bridge the gap between the “computer haves and have nots” a
network of 800 learning centres is being set up. The centres, to be funded
by a 400 million pound budget, will be located in schools, colleges and
business settings. Priority will be given to inner city areas. The aim is to
bring state of the art information and communication technology within
reach of everyone to develop basic skills and provide for advanced
learning. It is claimed that the development will match the modernisation
now taking place in the United States.

Learning centres in schools and colleges will help in raising standards,
developing lifelong learning and improving employability. They will give
young people access to new approaches to learning and offer a greatly
expanding range of opportunities before and after school. They will also
act as a core for cascading best practice and working with neighbouring
schools and may also develop language laboratories, cyber-cafes or arts

It is estimated that last month 30% of primary schools and 90% of secondary
schools were already linked to the National Grid For Learning and it is
expected that 32,000 schools will be connected by 2002. The Grid, which is
funded by a 700 million pounds investment programme, gives pupils and
teachers access to quality educational software and services.