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FIFTY THOUSAND Scottish teachers will be offered heavily subsidised loans to buy modern home computers at rock bottom prices, Helen Liddell, the Education Minister, promised last week at a post-Budget briefing.

Civil servants are already negotiating deals after Chancellor Gordon Brown set aside pound;20 million to subsidise purchases, following the lead of the Scottish Council for Educational Technology which has helped 1,600 teachers buy a home PC at zero interest.

The pound;2m commitment in Scotland is part of a pound;153m investment in IT in schools, colleges, libraries and community centres. A further pound;39m is being targeted at education from the pound;165m Scottish Office capital modernisation fund.

The additional pound;39m should be added to the already announced pound;62m for the National Grid for Learning (financed centrally by the Excellence Fund) and pound;23m for training teachers and librarians (funded by the lottery's New Opportunities Fund).

The target is one computer for every eight primary pupils or four in every primary classroom within five years, and one for every five secondary pupils.

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