In the wake of President Clinton's pledge to give every child in America access to a PC, US Secretary of Education Richard Riley has challenged every school in the country to get at least one Internet connection in place by mid-April.
Riley issued his challenge on the eve of the Net Day 2000 conference in Washington, a gathering of industry, government and education representatives to discuss preparations for National Wiring Day on 19 April.
National Wiring Day is part of the wider government-supported Net Day 2000 campaign, launched last year with the aim of connecting at least five classrooms and one library in every school to the Internet.
Secretary Riley said: "We would be shocked if we found out that our children's history class lacked a text book for them to use or that an English class had decided to forego teaching a piece of great literature because they were unable to afford copies of the book. We should feel the same indignation and shock today when we hear that a school has not been wired to the Internet."
He launched a recruitment campaign to find one million volunteers to take part in the April wiring process.
Net Day 96, last year, managed to wire up 25,000 classrooms across the country with the help of 250,000 volunteers. The initiative was the brainchild of John Gage, chief scientist at Sun Microsystems, and Michael Kaufmann of the Public Broadcasting Service.
The scheme, named after Clinton's goal of connecting every school to the Net by the year 2000, has top level support. The Washington Net Day conference heard a keynote address from US vice president Al Gore on Friday, while Clinton urged support for the wiring day in a radio address on Saturday evening.
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