Realising the potential of new technology? Assessing the legacy of New Labour's ICT agenda 1997-2007

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Abstract

Realising the potential of new technology was one of the central educational themes of New Labour s 1997 election manifesto, with information and communications technology (ICT) established subsequently as a prominent feature of the Blair administration policy portfolio. As such New Labour can claim rightly to have made an unprecedented and sustained political commitment to technology in education, directing over 5 billion of funding towards educational ICT during the 1997 to 2007 period. Yet the fact remains that the New Labour ICT agenda has failed to achieve the much promised technological transformation of the UK education system. With this in mind the present paper develops the argument that New Labour s concern with educational ICT was driven primarily by concerns over enhancing competitiveness in a globalising economy, creating a lifelong learning system fit for a successful knowledge economy and modernising the formal education sector. Thus whilst New Labour s ICT agenda may well have had the short term impact of increasing the physical presence of ICT resources in all education institutions, its longer-term educational legacy was compromised by the wider macro-level issues it purported to address. As such the legacy of this high-profile segment of policy-making should be seen primarily in terms of establishing ICT as an ideological presence in the UK education system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701 - 712
Number of pages12
JournalOxford Review of Education
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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