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Blunkett to expand on Grid at BETT '98 show

The Education and Employment Secretary is expected to announce developments in the Government's National Grid for Learning strategy when he opens the British Educational Training and Technology exhibition at Olympia, London, on Wednesday.

The Government has pledged to link up all UK schools and colleges to the Internet and train teachers to exploit the potential of all the educational material on the grid by the year 2002, the end of Labour's first term of office.

The BETT show, one of the largest educational technology events in the world, is traditionally used by the Government to announce major initiatives.

Also expected is the announcement of a shake-up of the National Council for Educational Technology, the quango that helps the Government enact its education technology programme.

The NCET's profile has dropped in recent years. Dennis Stevenson, Tony Blair's special information and communications technology adviser, carried out a review of the organisation last year and it is now expected to be relaunched with a brief for support and guidance on the National Grid for Learning and teacher and curriculum support for Information and Communications Technology (ICT). It is also likely to be renamed..

Bett '98 is supported by The TES and this year's keynote speaker is Linda Roberts, director of the Office of Educational Technology within the US department of education.

She will be explaining the US interactive learning strategy and President Clinton's $2 billion plan to connect all US schools. Legislative commitments mean Ms Roberts, who has played a key role in shaping US educational technology policy, will be delivering her address and discussing her work via tele-conferencing.

Also due to be featured is NetYear, an industry-led independent, charitable initiative which complements the Government's learning grid.

TES Online Education the new 56-page magazine focusing on Bett '98 is in the centre of the appointments section.

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