UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said secondary schools will provide one computer for every five pupils if Labour is re-elected.
In his annual speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton, he said: "There will be an extra billion pounds investment in ICT [information and communications technology] to ensure one computer to every five children in our secondary schools."
Blair expects to reach this target by 2004. A target of one PC for every eight secondary school pupils has also been set. In 1998, the average number of pupils per computer in secondary schools was nine, and in primary schools the figure was 18.
By 2004, the government also wants at least 75 per cent of pupils aged 14 to have basic computer skills, and be able to use new technologies such as CDRoms and the internet in their studies. The £1bn over three years is an extension of the National Grid for Learning programme.
In a speech dominated by the defence of his government's policies, Blair also reminded his audience of measures announced earlier this month to improve IT skills across the UK under the UK Online initiative.
"Because 90 per cent of new jobs will need skills with computers, there will be 6000 centres around Britain giving access to the internet and help with technology," he said.
"Everyone, anyone will get an 80 per cent discount on computer courses - the unemployed will get it for free. There will be 1000 more technology centres for small businesses or the self employed."
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