§ 13. Mr. Russell Brown (Dumfries)
What plans he has to assist with the development of the Crichton estate in Dumfries as a base for higher education provision. 
§ The Minister for Education, Scottish Office (Mrs. Helen Liddell)
Some £1.8 million has been awarded jointly to the universities of Glasgow and Paisley by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council to develop higher education provision at the Crichton site. The first students will be admitted to courses in September, and there are plans to have 500 undergraduate places there by 2001–02.
From 1 July, this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.
§ Mr. Brown
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, who fully appreciates the significance of the site as both a future business terrace and a university campus. Will she confirm that, as a Government priority, new information technologies, such as the national grid for learning, will be embraced to provide educational opportunity to rural communities in Scotland?
§ Mrs. Liddell
I can confirm that, step by step, we will ensure that the national grid for learning is developed throughout Scotland. Scotland's higher education institutions are already linked. We are also rapidly developing the university of the highlands and islands. With the development of broad-band information technology for the higher education sector, we are proceeding apace to introduce it to schools and further education institutions.