Labour aims to make information technology available to every pupil. Its much-vaunted deal with BT and the cable companies to connect all schools, universities, colleges and libraries to the superhighway free of charge is intended to take care of the infrastructure. What has yet to be established is just how far BT and the other telecommunications providers will agree to go in providing access to the Internet for schools.
The proposed national grid, made possible through this national link-up, will provide educational content and access to software for schools, colleges and universities. Among other things, it will provide: a navigating guide through the educational sites on the Internet for teachers, pupils and parents; access to good quality learning software, including multimedia; protective software filters to control access; networking possibilities between pupils and teachers from all over Britain for curricular work, sharing ideas and resources.
The grid will be licensed by the Government, run asa part-private, part-public partnership. It will be self-funding, taking nothing from the public purse. Tendering for the establishment and running of it will be bid for openly and awarded to the consortium that presents the best package of relevant software, educational expertise and financial support. Moneywill be generated from charging software companiesfor access to the grid and may include sponsorshipand charges for advertising.