The World Wide Web will replace the secret ballot box at this year?s General Election as BT and Microsoft get together to provide voting across the UK - well, to schoolchildren anyway.
Primary, secondary and special needs schools throughout the country will be able to take part in BT and Microsoft?s 'Schools? Election Online' project, encouraging young people in different schools to debate political issues with each other.
Schools taking part can also enter a competition for the 'Road Ahead' prize of #10,000, which is funded by proceeds from Bill Gates? recently published book of the same name.
From material provided by education experts, schools will be able to learn about the election process and politics plus take part in national opinion polls and then finally vote. Participants will also be able to run their own elections in conjunction with this project.
The site (www.campus.bt.com/CampusWorld/election97) will initially comprise a number of areas that set the scene, provide updated parliament news and cover curriculum-specific activities, plus advice from the Hansard Society on how to hold an election.
Access to the information is provided by BT?s Campus World educational service. It acts as a ?walled garden? so teachers can control their pupils? use of the Net. All the material has been checked for suitability and without a password, users cannot move from these selected sites onto the wider Internet.
Dave Gregory, Microsoft?s strategic relations manager said: ?Schools? Election Online will be a catalyst for the Internet, allowing participants to discover real tangible benefits that innovative user of the Internet can bring. The project has been designed to educate children of all ages about politics and how an election works. We were also very keen to provide teachers with the resources to deliver the curriculum on such a pertinent topic.?
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