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Pupils must have hour a week on Net

Pupils should have access to the Internet for at least one hour a week, according to new Liberal Democrats policy - the first time that such a benchmark has been set by a political party.

Richard Allan, the Lib Dems' IT spokesperson, said the proposal was based on Net access being available to pupils during lessons, as well as before and after school and at lunchtime.

The policy would cost about pound;940 million over five years, including pound;140 million for extra equipment in the first year and pound;160 million in additional staff support costs.

s teaching and learning becomes increasingly dependent on ICT, Allan said a minimum level of equipment was needed to provide the framework for future developments.

He added that the provision and support of computers in schools was "inadequate" and remained a serious cause for concern.

The party has launched an investigation into the provision of information and communications technology in schools and sent a questionnaire on equipment and support levels to a sample of primaries and secondaries in England and Wales. Chris Johnston

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