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Volume 22: debated on Tuesday 20 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the progress being made with the microcomputer installation programme in secondary schools in the Greater London area.

Yes, Sir. One hundred secondary schools in the Greater London area have obtained a microcomputer under the Department of Industry's micros in schools scheme, supplementing the substantial provision made by the local education authorities.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that that is a remarkable figure in an imaginative and exciting programme? Is he still confident, as was said when the programme began, that the London boroughs that were ahead of the field in their installation programme before the scheme was launched are still not being penalised because they had a number of computers already installed in their schools?

I can give my hon. Friend the assurance that he wants. All secondary schools are now eligible for assistance under the Department of Industry's scheme, whether or not they have already bought a microcomputer.

Does the right hon. Gentleman believe that there should be an input into the microcomputers for handicapped children? Is he aware that the microcomputer is a great chance to help them to overcome their handicaps? Is he prepared to give extra resources to that end?

Without a commitment on resources, I shall certainly look into the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.