High-fliers grounded by low-tech facilities

July 4, 2003

Conservatism towards learning technologies in universities is blighting the prospects of brighter and more technically minded students, according to a report out this week.

In Higher Education: Lower Horizons, Mark Constable, lead researcher at Anglia Polytechnic University's Ultralab, says research shows that the increased use of information technology in schools is widening higher education opportunities for pupils, many of whom come from non-academic families.

But the report says that when they get to university, ITfacilities often leave a lot to be desired. The negative impact this has on students can be significant.

Mr Constable said that higher education was "narrowing the corridor of potential success through poor information and communications technology policies. One might predict the result would be high dropout rates".

Stephen Heppell, head of Ultralab, said: "The new stars emerging from schools are facing a roll of the dice as to which university offers the best facilities. It's very uneven."

The report found that more than half of UK universities do not provide students with 24-hour access to IT systems. A quarter of students said there were no internet connections available in halls of residence.

Details: http://rubble.ultralab.net/horizons

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