Schools in Northern Ireland are to get 23,000 PCs as part of a £60m outsourced infrastructure deal.
Under the C2K project, post-primary schools in the province will receive the machines, running Windows XP, which will give children access to up to 200 learning applications based on the National Curriculum.
Outsourcer Sx3 has signed a five-year deal to deliver and run the infrastructure. "The aim is to improve the quality of classroom teaching using IT," said Jimmy Stewart, director of C2K.
The schools were able to buy the necessary Microsoft licences at a discounted rate under an agreement signed between the government and the software maker.
"This allows us to include a refresh policy into the contract, ensuring that the children will learn on state-of-the-art systems," said Noel Brady, managing director of Sx3 Ireland.
Installation of the Pentium-based desktops, and servers running Windows 2000, is scheduled to begin in June this year. The full roll-out starts in September, and is due to be completed by early 2004.
In addition to the post-primary schools project, C2K is working on delivering 12,000 laptops for teachers, and desktops for 900 primary schools.
The final phase of the over-arching scheme is to provide wireless network access to the internet and email for schools. An announcement regarding this contract is expected soon.
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