§ 61. Sir John Farr
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy not to support the supply to schools of computers manufactured by companies whose ownership is outside the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Butcher
The only central Government financial support to schools for the purchase of computers has been provided by my Department under the micros for schools schemes, which enabled schools to buy a range of computer equipment at half price.
The equipment for those schemes, which have now been successfully completed, was chosen on a combination of educational, technical and commercial grounds. No decisions have yet been made as to whether there is a case for further direct intervention, but the choice of any equipment for future schemes will be based on the same considerations.
Indirect support for computers in schools, such as curriculum development and teacher training, will continue to be be based on those machines currently used in sufficient volume in schools to justify such support.
§ 62. Mr. Jack Thompson
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he is planning to increase computer technology facilities in primary and secondary schools in 1985–86.
§ Mr. Butcher
Responsibility for the overall level of computer technology facilities rests with the local educational authorities and individual schools and I welcome the fact that both LEAs and schools are devoting additional resources to this area.
My Department can, through further limited financial support, encourage schools to invest in new areas of technology with which they might otherwise be reluctant to become involved.
The micros in schools schemes were an exellent example of this in that schools were helped with the purchase of their first computer and as a result most schools have developed their computer facilities from their own resources.
We continue to pay close attention to developments in educational technology, and are considering whether further assistance might be undertaken in 1985–86 or subsequent years.