Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, was recruited as one of the key influencers of government policy on technology in education when he met prime minister Tony Blair last week.
Gates' meeting with Blair accompanied the publication of the government's white paper on a "National Grid for Learning", with #100 million earmarked for new computers in schools and a promise to connect every school to the Internet by 2002. Microsoft also announced a partnership with BT and Research Machines to design a "virtual teacher resource centre", to be a central piece of the grid.
Gates spoke afterwards of how impressed he was by the way the prime minister and his advisors are thinking of the role of technology in education.
"Children will use computers as a tool for learning - you can see how computers bring out children's natural curiosity," he declared.
"There is an opportunity for Britain to become a highly competitive contributor to the worldwide IT industry, as well as to use the power of personal computers to improve crucial aspects of the country's infrastructure," Gates said.
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