Schools spend more on IT than books and, while some researchers warn this is still not enough, others question the value of computers in schools.
The government has spent £1bn on new equipment and internet connections to upgrade schools' IT departments since it came to power.
Department for Education and Skills (DfES) figures published earlier this year found that the average number of computers used for teaching and learning has increased each year from 1998 to 2003, and most equipment is less than three years old.
But the average spend per pupil, per year on IT is still only £44, which has to cover hardware and software across all subjects.
And a new study of 524 secondary schools by researchers at the Open University and Staffordshire University found that 1.7 per cent of budgets were spent on ICT, while just 0.8 per cent went on books.
According to Steve Hurd, co-author of the study, this means budgets are still not big enough to boost exam successes.
"Most schools have pretty good networks these days and teachers know how to use computers, but it is difficult to arrange room swaps for subjects when the computer room is being used to teach ICT. There is also insufficient money for subject-specific software," he said.
"Consequently, IT use does not show up as significant in affecting exam performances. The budgets available to schools for buying learning resources, software as well as books, is insufficient. As a result, student learning and examination results suffer."
In contrast to the £1bn for IT in schools, the government has handed schools a one-off book grant of just £2,000.
This means that, at £21 per student per year, the corresponding amount for book spend is even lower than IT.
And other researchers have questioned whether such high levels of spending on IT in schools are necessary.
Earlier this year a report by the Educational Publishers Council found that, although teachers believe IT has a place in education, they feel that in many cases it is not being used effectively to enhance traditional teaching methods.
And a report from the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency claimed there is no "consistent relationship" between computer use and pupil achievement in any subject at any age.
A DfES spokeswoman rejected the findings. "The notion that we shouldn't equip our children with the ICT skills vital for the 21st century world is preposterous. It is not a question of choosing between innovative and traditional ways of learning - we need both.
"We have invested record amounts to ensure that all our children have access to books and computers. The best schools use both to great effect."
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