In Northern Ireland the ratio of computers to pupils in post-primary and primary schools is 1:16. Some 69 per cent of computers are more than four years old. Few schools have multimedia computers.
Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of post-primaries use e-mail and the Internet. In primary schools only 2 per cent of pupils and 3 per cent of teachers use the Internet compared with 45 per cent and 57 per cent respectively.
But the province's education department plans a big improvement on these figures. A strategy group set up last month aims is to have every primary school linked to the Internet by the end of the year. There are also proposals for a certificate of competence in IT for trainee teachers.
NINE (Northern Ireland Network Education) is a virtual teacher centre with many resources that offers access to other educational sites in Britain and Northern Ireland. "We haven't had any BEON-type projects (Bristol Online Education Network), but some schools were involved in the Superhighways project," says John Anderson, an HMI at the department.