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Northern Ireland's pound;58.2m PCs

Northern Ireland's 237 post-primary schools and 48 special needs schools are to get ICT equipment worth pound;58.2 million in the latest phase of the Department of Education's Classroom 2000 project, the largest of its kind in the UK.

The Classroom 2000 project will eventually provide all Northern Ireland's schools (primary have already been equipped) with state-of-the-art technology, running on local and wide-area networks for quick access to digital learning materials and internet and email access for pupils and teachers. The new phase was welcomed by Jane Kennedy MP, minister with responsibility for education, last month. "I would like to congratulate all those involved in preparing this complex contract, particularly the Western Education and Library Board, who negotiated the contract on behalf of the education sector," she said.

Responsibility for delivering the managed service lies with the main contractor Sx3 and RM. Sx3 boss Noel Brady said, "This vitally important contract will ensure the delivery and management of 23,000 PCs along with specialised educational software, servers, switches and LAN infrastructure to the post primary and special schools sectors.

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