The U.K.’s Education and skills secretary Charles Clarke yesterday stressed the importance of technology for revolutionizing learning in schools, colleges and universities, marking the launch of the government’s consultation document into its e-learning strategy.

“E-learning must now touch the life of every single learner,” said Clarke. “Using interactive technologies can bring huge benefits to the way we teach and learn, but at the moment there is not enough of it happening in this country.”

The consultation, which is open until the end of January 2004, is a chance for teachers, employers, commercial suppliers and students to contribute to the process and an opportunity for the government to develop universal technical standards and support.

The idea behind the scheme is to create universal take-up of technology throughout the country, rather than at a handful of institutions, as at present, encouraging teachers to adapt their skills to incorporate online learning.

The benefits of using online resources can already been seen throughout the country. Toddlers in Liverpool are learning French, Spanish and German through email links and video-conferencing to schools in other countries, while a GCSE course taught entirely online at a Sheffield college received a 100 per cent pass rate.

“We are committed to making e-learning a fundamental part of all education, and we want to hear the views of everyone concerned. Online services are an increasing part of everyday life and education and training must mirror these changes to revolutionize all learning,” added Clarke.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada