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Green paper confirms high-tech commitment

The importance of technology to the Government's education agenda has been reinforced by last month's schools green paper. The document, which amounts to Labour's election manifesto for education, states that ICT is "moving firmly into the mainstream and becoming a key lever in the drive to raise standards, motivate pupils and make teachers' workload more manageable".

ICT use will become "routine in virtually every classroom" with integrated administration and curriculum networks and all-electronic communication between schools and government. Change will also result from innovative heads and teachers applying ICT imaginatively to solve problems, the paper predicts.

However, it admits training for teachers is vital if technology is to support the school improvement agenda and poits out that many have been helped by the Lottery-funded programme.

While some schools have unleashed the "transformative power of ICT" the challenge is to extend its benefits to all schools.

Innovations such as "virtual librarians" and the CultureOnline service, launched later this year, are also promised.

The Government also intends to set ambitious targets in ICT, as well as English, maths and science, for 14-year-olds in 2007, with milestone targets for 2004.

Meanwhile, the national debate on what makes effective and good practice in using ICT announced by learning and technology minister Michael Wills at the BETT exhibition has been launched. To contribute, see www.becta.org.uknewspracticedebate

Schools green paperwww.dfee.gov.ukbuildingonsuccess

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