Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, has asked the Government a Parliamentary Question on what they are doing to ensure that educational technology resources are available to schools to further the educational attainment of pupils.
It revealed that the UK government is investing in applying technology to the education system and ensuing that the UK’s skill profile matches the anticipated demand in new high tech areas such as artificial intelligence.
Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to harness digital technology to deliver educational services.
Nick Gibb (Minister of State for School Standards): The Government is working with the education sector as well as researchers and the education technology industry to target the key challenges and highlight the opportunities that technology presents to empower teachers, leaders and providers to make better-informed decisions about the use of technology across education.
Tackling specific challenges, we recently announced a £7.7 million curriculum fund to encourage the development of high quality and knowledge-rich teaching resources. These resources, which could include digital as well as traditional materials, will help teachers deliver the government’s new curriculum while reducing workload and giving them more time to focus on teaching.
We are also investing £84 million of new funding over the next five years to deliver a comprehensive programme to improve the teaching of computing and drive up participation in computer science, particularly amongst girls.
At the last budget, we announced a £30 million National Retraining Scheme fund to deliver digital skills training using edtech and artificial intelligence so that students and trainees can benefit from this emerging technology, wherever they are in the country.
The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie welcomed the figures:
“This is excellent news from a Conservative Government that wants our country to embrace the technological innovations that can help to improve every facet of our society, and schools are no different.
“Better education results in both prosperity and social mobility. Digital exclusion can easily become a proxy for social exclusion if children are unable to access educational content online at home they are at a disadvantage to their wealthier and more digitally-literate peers. Charities and organisations, like the Learning Foundation in my constituency, also have a role to play in gaining access to educational technology.
“While it would not be right for the government to pick and choose ‘winning’ technologies and impose one-size-fits-all technology on the entire school system, it is right to concentrate on investing in research and development.
“To make good use of these new technologies will require digital skills and it is encouraging to see new investment for retraining people into emerging digital fields such as artificial intelligence.
“This is just the latest chapter in Britain’s long and prestigious history of educational and technological achievement, but I also sense that it is nowhere near the end.”
Note to editors
1. Adam Afriyie is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.
2. He has a strong background in science, technology and innovation.
4. He was shadow Minister for Science from 2007-2010 and has a background in the information services and technology sector.