RealTime IT News

Italian Public Schools to Receive Multimedia Technology

While the United States and some European nations are pushing for a "one student, one computer" ratio, Italys goal is simply get computers into all public schools by the end of 2000.

In additionally, according to Minister of Public Instruction Luigi Berlinguer, for those institutes that have computers, a major effort is being made to online access.

"Currently, 50 percent of the nation's educational institutes are equipped with computers and offer some form of technological training," explained Berlinguer. "Last September a Program of Technical Development was signed, enabling one-thousand-million-lira ($600 million) to be invested in computers, multi-media technology and education in 15,000 public schools over the next four years."

One aspect of the new program is Internet access. Already nearly 6,000 Italian schools have access to the Web. The Minister of Public Instruction, however, has set a goal to have Net capabilities in 75 percent of the country's educational institutions by 2003.

According to Berlinguer, "Students with technology are a leap ahead of others. Why? First, because they are more open to learning, they soon understand more about PC technology than many of the teachers. Second, it is an absolute necessity for their future professional live and success."

Italys public school systems will also participate in such activities as "Netdays," an online party coordinated between European educational systems. One hundred public schools in the Mediterranean peninsula, in fact, have already taken part in similar Internet gatherings.

Last Septembers Program of Technical Development also calls form the installation of satellite reception dishes and televisions in Italian schools.

"The Ministry has already coordinated an agreement with RAI (the state-operated radio and television network), for the donation of the satellite dishes and free links," said Luigi Berlinguer. "These will be installed within the next few months. Other schools will receive similar units along with their computer labs and Internet access as part of the new technology program."