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Brussels, 10 October 2001

Internet use in European schools growing, but wide differences remain

The European Commission today presented the findings of two Eurobarometer surveys on the use of computers and the Internet in European Union schools. This survey was carried out between February and May 2001 as part of the eEurope Action Plan benchmarking. The findings indicate that new technologies have made significant inroads in schools in all member States, and that teachers are overwhelmingly open towards the Internet. However, there are significant discrepancies in the pace of take-up between different EU countries.

Regarding school equipment, average figures at EU level are encouraging:

  • 9 out of 10 EU schools are now connected to the Internet;

  • pupils have access to the Internet in 8 out of 10 EU schools;

  • there are 12 pupils per off-line computer and 24 pupils per computer connected to the Internet in EU schools;

  • half the computers used for education are less than three years old.

However, there are important differences amongst Member States. For instance, figures vary from 3 to 25 pupils per off-line computer and from 3 to 50 pupils per on-line computer. Furthermore, the EU landscape remains largely dominated by narrowband technologies (ISDN and standard dial-up), though high-speed Internet has made breakthroughs in a few Member States.

Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society, said, "A key finding of the surveys is that the development of the Internet in schools seems to be a priority in all Member States. At the same time, the surveys send us a warning signal that considerable efforts are needed to ensure equal access to the Internet amongst the pupils of different Member States".

Ms. Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Education, Culture and Audiovisual, added, "Another key finding of the surveys is that European teachers are overwhelmingly open towards the use of new technologies with their pupils. Lower levels of Internet take-up in class in some Member States is due to lack of computers and Internet connections".

Off-line computers are now used by a majority of European teachers. However, less than four out of 10 European teachers use the Internet with pupils. The main reasons invoked by teachers who do not use the Internet in class are poor level of equipment and/or connectivity. Teachers who use the Internet in class are extremely positive: only one out of 100 does not find it useful.

For more information, check the full Staff Working Document "eEurope 2002 benchmarking European youth into the digital age" on the "News & Library" section of the eEurope Web site:

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