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Government announces £5m fund to boost college broadband

The government has revealed a plan to boost technology with the intention of helping further education institutions.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock has announced a £5m fund to upgrade broadband connections in colleges from 2014-2015 as part of the measures.

By upgrading students’ Internet access, it is hoped colleges will be able to introduce cloud sharing technologies.

“Technology is set to transform education over the next decade as much as it has revolutionised the rest of our lives in the past decade,” claimed Hancock, speaking at the Spectator’s Skills Forum yesterday.

“It has huge potential to engage more learners and improve the learning experience,” he added.

The new plans come as a response to the FELTAG (Further Education Learning Technology Action Group) report that recommended policy makers, principals, teachers and governors remain up-to-date with technological developments.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) says it welcomed and supported this feedback.

“The FELTAG report shows how we can tackle the obstacles which prevent providers from being able to take full advantage of the technology on offer,” claimed Hancock.

“As a government, we will do all we can to remove these obstacles and our response highlights this,” he added.

BIS outlines measures for better use of technology

BIS claims that an Agile procurement policy is essential for quick reaction to fast-changing technologies.

The Department says that although final decisions on expenditure ultimately remain with the college itself, BIS will be on hand to support them in upgrading their infrastructures.

BIS has also called upon the Education and Learning Foundation to develop digital leaders that will support colleges and assist learners in improving their technology skills.

As an extra measure, the Department is encouraging the Education and Training Foundation to work with Local Enterprise Partnerships in order to improve relationships between further education providers and employers.