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IT should be considered a basic skill – report


Information Technology should be designated a basic skill along with literacy and numeracy, with free computer courses for all, according to a report from the taskforce on e-learning, headed by Steve Morrison. The report looked at how to make post-16 learning easier to access, more flexible and suited to the needs of individuals using new technologies.


- ICT should be designated a basic skill by 2010 along with literacy and numeracy. This change implies access for all to free courses to improve basic IT skills, though it would focus initially on 16-18 year olds in full or part-time study; those in Modern Apprenticeships; the unemployed and people in part-time work.

- The creation of ‘College Online’ - an expansion of Curriculum Online into the post-16 sector. This would give teachers and tutors in the post-16 sector access to a bank of online learning resources to use with their students to help make learning more exciting.

- National Mentoring Programme with 5,000 additional e-learning mentors to support tutors online with a central database at

- Development of an online ‘careers adviser’ - Which Way? To give people easy access to advice on the most suitable learning for them right the way through to job opportunities.

- Improvements in work-based learning. Small businesses should be supported and offered incentives to provide relevant occupational online learning. Investors in People UK should include access to e-learning opportunities as standard as part of its strategy to engage more small businesses.

Estelle Morris said: "Sometimes people can’t access the learning they need because courses simply don’t fit around their daily lives. New technologies open up huge opportunities to give people access to the learning they want in a way that suits their needs. The success of learndirect has shown the potential of online learning. This report looks at how to use new technology in post-16 learning to maximum effect to give people even greater flexibility and choice."

Steve Morrison, Chief Executive of Granada plc and Chair of the Taskforce said: "IT is the gateway to e-learning and the wealth of course materials increasingly available online. So we are also recommending the establishment of College Online. College Online can bring knowledge to the learner wherever they may be. It brings the college to the company, the library and leisure centre or the home. College Online opens up education to everybody."


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