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The UK is Facing an IT Literacy Time Bomb, Labour Peer Warns


Not having IT skills will soon be as serious as not being able to read, Lord Mitchell, chairman of the e-Learning Foundation, has warned.

Lord Mitchell was speaking at an event to explore the issues around delivering and sustaining a personalised learning environment.

The seminar, hosted by IT finance provider Syscap, was attended by representatives from fifty schools, LEAs, education experts and influencers. Lord Mitchell spoke on the future of education and two schools presented their experiences with developing and implementing an e-learning vision.

Lord Mitchell told delegates: "When looking for work, who are your children going to be competing with? Children in the same class, who live on the same street or from the same town? Possibly, but more likely they will be children from Mumbai, Brazil or California.

"We live in a very flat and accessible world so we have to ensure that our kids are prepared with the skills they need for the 21st century. There are few jobs that don’t require any IT so people without these skills will become increasingly disadvantaged."

He also paid credit to the government’s ICT in education policy. "The Government has made a commitment to support universal access by 2010 and in comparison to other nations, the UK’s take-up has been excellent – only Australia and perhaps the Scandinavian countries are ahead of us.

"Every single child should have access to a device that enables personalised learning," Lord Mitchell continued. "Teachers and parents need to champion the use of IT, both in school and at home. The concept of 9am to 3:30pm learning is a thing of the past."


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