* Most people are ambivalent about whether the education system is succeeding in teaching pupils about information technology, according to a MORI survey commissioned by high-tech company Motorola UK. But most of the sample gave "an unequivocal yes" to the question of whether they expected things to improve over the next 10 years.
The education section in "Prepared for the Future? The British and Technology: A Motorola Report" concludes "The respondents are, in the main, keen to take advantage of opportunities offered by new technology and specifically by IT. There is uncertainty among those surveyed as to how well the education system is preparing the British for the future."
Training is a key issue in the report. Just 12 per cent said they had been given IT training, while 41 per cent said they had not been given IT training.
Also on the negative side, the sample group felt that the elderly and the unemployed get insufficient access to IT, and IT provision also reinforces the UK's class divide and north-south divide.
Information from Motorola Communications Department. Telephone: O1753 575555. Fax: 01753 516243 The report is available on the World Wide Web at http:www.mot.com * A bleak vision of a "Third World, post-industrial" UK was invoked at the recent launch of BT's CampusWorld educational network in London last week. BT's business boss, the charismatic Bruce Bo nd, who is also a council member of the National Council for Educational Technology, warned of the gloomy prospects unless young people develop the networking skills they will need for their "service" and "knowledge" roles in the emerging post-industrial UK.
Mr Bond used the examples of his children and their friends tapping into the vast resources of the Internet international computer networks to research their homework because they were denied access to academic libraries.
Ironically, pupils would find this difficult, if not impossible, in the "walled garden" of CampusWorld, in which Internet access has been restricted in response to fears about children seeking out pornography. (BT does also offer full Internet connection). Headteacher Mary Marsh, of Holland Park School, London, warned that rather than hiding sensitive material from pupils, teachers should be helping them discriminate intelligently and responsibly when searching for material on the Internet.
While educationists at the launch broadly welcomed BT's commitment to linking schools to the Internet, there was disappointment over the lack of free local calls (as in the US) or leased lines (so schools can be certain of their costs), patchy high-speed dial-up access and the failure to provide affordable high-speed digital access (ISDN), especially as this was used by BT for the launch demonstration to make the service appear particularly quick.
Despite its massive resources, BT will have to step up its World Wide Web presence to counter the inroads already made by Research Machines with its extensive Web site.
CampusWorld: 0345 626253.
Research Machines: 01235 826868