The Government has almost doubled its spending on computer education in schools. Mr. William Shelton, the Education Minister, announced that the Microelectronics Education Programme (MEP) is to run for two more years with additional funding of at least £9 million. The programme began in 1989, was originally due to end in 1993, and had a budget of £9 million.

This has been raised in bits and pieces over the past year to £11 million. The programme will now run until March 1995, at a cost of around £20 million. MEP provides courses for teachers and develops computer programmes for classroom use of personal computers. It is run together with a Department of Industry programme, under which personal computers are supplied to schools at half-price.

In that way, virtually every secondary school will have been provided with computers at a low cost.

But, as Mr. Shelton admitted yesterday: ‘It’s no good having the computers without the right computer programmes to put into them and a great deal more is still needed.’ Hence, MEP needs the new funds being provided. Mr. Shelton said yesterday that MEP’s achievements in curriculum development and teacher training had shown that the computer could be used in all courses.

About 15,000 secondary school teachers have taken short courses in ‘computer awareness’, which is a necessary part of the half-price computer offer, and training materials are now being provided for 50,000 primary school teachers. The reasoning behind MEP is that no child now at school can hope for a worthwhile job in the future economy unless he or she understands how to deal with computers – not in the training sense, but in learning the general skill to extract the information which will be required in their job.

Mark the best choice.

1. The original MEP programme was expected to .

a) last two years and cost nine million pounds

b) last four years and cost nine million pounds

c) last two years and cost eleven million pounds

d) last four years and cost eleven million pounds

2. Which of the following is not an aim of MEP?

a) To develop personal computers to be used in schools. b) To arrange for cheap computers to be supplied to schools.

c) To show teachers how to use personal computers. d) To train teachers to work with classes using computers.
3. According to the programme, computers will be .

a) introduced in most schools, at no expense to the school

b) provided for the personal use of all secondary school teachers

c) supplied to all secondary schcols at half-price

d) provided for most teachers at a low cost


4. The additional funds will be mainly used .

a) as part of the agreement to supply computers cheaply

b) to develop further computer programmes for schools

c) to train 50,000 secondary school teachers

d) to provide short courses for 15,000 secondary school teachers

5. The reason for the introduction of computers in schools is that .

a) in the future, ali teaching will be done with computers

b) computer programmers will have better jobs in the future

c) large numbers of people will have to be trained as computer programmers

d) people will need to be able to use them to obtain information in their work

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