Backbencher attacks 'learning' policy

Backbencher attacks ‘learning’ policy
Political correspondent A Labour backbencher has accused the government of getting its strategy for the National Grid for Learning (NGfL) back to front. Former Publisher and TV Executive Derek Wyatt wants the government to shelve any further development of the NGfL, which will link all primary and secondary schools by 2002, until a proper broadband communications strategy is in place. The Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP says there is now no way the system can embrace the type of thinking behind Singapore’s Intelligent City initiative until this is done. Wyatt claims the whole approach is fragmented and is amazed that the BBC has gone ahead with its own learning channels without coming to the government to help create the NGFL – leaving the Department for Education and Employment to pay an extra ?30m for its own such channel. He said some form of national grid and broadband strategy was needed before the government could go ahead with major schemes as the NGfL, the University for Industry and other Lifelong Learning Initiatives. ITV and others in the broadcasting and educational publishing fields could then be involved as the hardware and software for the NGFL. This could then be the basis for linking schools up properly to the Internet and also be a potential revenue earner for the government. Wyatt is determined to pursue the issue in debates and the media until the government produces a ‘proper’ strategy.

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