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Access to learning

An organisation has been established with the aim of providing every child aged four and above with their own portable computer over the next five years in a bid to bridge the "digital divide".

Valerie Thompson, head of the national e-Learning Foundation, said that the scheme is "not just about IT skills, it's about access to learning".

The aim is to create a network of small foundations across the UK that will raise cash from local businesses and communities, as well as from parental donations, to buy computers. The foundations will be charitable trusts, which means that both schools and contributors can benefit from tax saings.

Government and European regeneration funds can also provide money in areas of particular disadvantage.

Valerie Thompson said: "We aim to have computers for every child in the next five years, although it will probably take 10. I don't think the UK can wait this long to stop its children being disadvantaged and to fill the skills gaps in industry."

The number of foundations across the UK is already into double figures. They can be made up of one or more schools or whole counties or cities.

For details about e-learning foundations, call 01372 824372 or visit the website:

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