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Wiring is patchy

SCOTLAND

Nigel Paine, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Educational Technology (SCET), describes the wiring-up of Scotland's schools as patchy. "Some local authorities have embarked on ambitious programmes, like Edinburgh, which sold a shopping centre for pound;6.2 million and is using the money to connect all of its schools to the Internet. West Lothian Council is spending around pound;2 million of Challenge Funding on wiring-up schools. But other areas, like Glasgow, are some way behind."

The lastest figures show that 11 per cent of Scottish primary schools and 60 per cent of secondaries are wired to the Internet. The average computer-to-pupil ratio in primaries is1:17 and 1:6 in secondary schools.

Scotland has many rural schools and 55 per cent should be passed by cable networks by 2002. It is estimated that about 95 per cent of schools will be within ISDN (digital telephone-line) range. The Scottish Office is also exploring other communications technology, such as sending Internet data down electricity lines (see page 18).

Brian Wilson, the Scottish Minister, has announced an extra pound;25 million from Lottery funding to train Scottish teachers. A survey of their training needs is being conducted at Robert Gordon University.

Stuart Robinson, a Scottish HMI, says: "The important thing is not technology, but how you use it."

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