UK students suffer from ICT budget cuts


Two thirds of ICT managers in British schools are worried that their students are being held back by falling technology standards, lack of investment and insufficient ICT facilities, according to new research.

The research, conducted by Equanet, looked at more than 1,400 ICT managers at schools throughout the UK. It found that ICT managers are increasingly concerned about their students’ abilities to perform with outdated ICT hardware and software.  More than half (58%) of ICT managers reported that the average age of their schools’ computers was four years old or more; 48% said that their students were using software in excess of four years .

The research also found that 68% of ICT managers thought the lack of investment in their schools’ ICT systems recently has had a direct effect on poor classroom ICT skills.  A further three quarters (76%) believed there would be an increased level of student performance and engagement in IT lessons if there was access to more up-to-date ICT hardware and software.  

Budgets are the biggest issue facing school ICT standards. Almost two thirds (63%) of school ICT managers said their budgets are being cut for 2011, with four out of ten reporting they have lost at least 40% of their 2010 budget.

Phil Birbeck, managing director of Equanet said: “It is concerning that ICT is given such a low priority in schools. Technology is becoming increasingly more central to our lives and of course our careers, and for budgets to be cut by more than half is shocking. In the long term, this will make it very difficult for British workers to compete in a global market where other countries are investing in technology and producing ICT savvy students.”

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