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Behind the times

WALES

In the words of a Welsh Office official: "We are a little bit behind others in wiring-up our schools." The last schools survey was carried out in 1990, so there is little reliable up-to-date information. However, the Welsh Office believes that all its 250 secondary schools have Internet access, and that about one quarter of the 1,700 primaries are also online. Internet access is clearly patchy, although some areas, such as Glamorgan, have thriving ICT programmes.

The Welsh Office says there are a number of reasons why Internet take-up is slower in Wales: the large number of small and rural schools (nearly one third of Welsh schools are classed as small), the re-organisation of local government in 1996, which resulted in the number of local authorities rising from eight to 22), and the fact that 25 per cent of schools use Welsh as the main or sole language. "Much of the Internet is in English, so there may not be the incentive to use it," said the official.

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