HC Deb 19 February 1996 vol 272 cc8-9
8. Mrs. Anne Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action he is taking to promote the use of information technology in Welsh schools. [14164]

Mr. Richards

In the current financial year, we are providing grants totalling up to £2.7 million to support the acquisition and greater use of information technology in primary and secondary schools. A further £3 million will be available in the next financial year. On top of that, I have just announced the latest stage of our £3 million initiative to equip more than 1,600 primary and special schools in Wales with multi-media hardware and software, or portable computers and the training to go with them.

Mrs. Campbell

Has not the Welsh Office done a single-manufacturer deal to supply that information technology equipment to Welsh schools? Will that mean that schools will not have any choice about which IT equipment they purchase? Is that not another example of a Tory central Government dictatorship?

Mr. Richards

The Welsh Office steering group decided what equipment would be chosen and that group comprised representatives of Her Majesty's chief inspector's office and local education authorities. As to choice, all primary schools in Wales were asked whether they wanted a multi-media suite or a portable computer. The hon. Lady may shake her head, but if she listens she will learn something. Some 93 per cent. of schools chose the multi-media suite over the portable computer, and that is what they will receive.

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