RealTime IT News

Gates Foundation Gives $4 Million for UK Learning Centres

Arts Minister Alan Howarth announced this week that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will give £2.5 millon ($4 million) to help establish 47 new IT learning centres in the poorer parts of Britain.

In setting up the centres the government hopes to ensure that no one is left out of the advances in modern information and communications technology (ICT). Every centre will have state-of-the-art hardware and software, together with fully trained personnel to help users.

"Everybody -- young and old and from all backgrounds and parts of the country -- must have the opportunity to make the most of what new technology has to offer, and today's announcement, together with the lottery funded library ICT schemes already announced by the Government, will help make that ambition a reality," said Howarth.

The funding from the Gates Foundation follows talks between the Foundation and Matthew Evans, chairman of the government's Library and Information Commission (LIC). The talks were held after LIC received an offer of help from the foundation.

The 47 learning centres will form "The People's Network," which is just one of several initiatives by the government to promote information technology.

"The People's Network is without doubt the best way to ensure that the maximum amount of people have access to opportunities new technology can provide, and this donation will play a major part in bridging the gap between information rich and information poor," said Howarth.