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Swedes steal a training march;News

SWEDEN will give 60,000 teachers a multimedia computer under an ambitious pound;110 million three-year programme to train teachers in information and communications technology and promote its use in schools.

Tools for Learning will provide training on using ICT in the classroom for about 40 per cent of Sweden's secondary and primary teachers. The programme will also improve Internet access for schools and give email addresses to all teachers and students.

The initiative is designed to help teachers develop their own learning. They will be put into work teams, each of which will carry out an inter-disciplinary, problem-based, pupil-oriented project with students. Work teams will meet with others for seminars run by a facilitator.

To be able to set up a work team, schools must have a sufficient number of computers with Internet access.

Tools for Learning aims to create "greater variety in the work of teachers and transforming the school into a more exciting workplace for pupils and teachers", said Ingegerd Warnersson, the schools minister.

Christina Johansson, of the Swedish education ministry, said there would be no pressure on teachers to undertake the training, but the government realised that teachers needed help if they were to use ICT in the classroom.

The Swedish plan to give every teacher a computer when they start ICT training is similar to a scheme in Victoria, Australia, which will sell a notebook computer to each of the state's 36,000 teachers for roughly pound;180 pounds over three years.

The British Government, however, expects the lottery-funded ICT teacher training programme to be a success without providing teachers with computers.

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