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Monday, June 14, 2010

BECTA’s closing sends ripples throughout ed tech by Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor

In a move that has sent shock waves throughout the education technology world, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA), which has been a leading international voice in research and support for using information and communications technology (ICT) in schools, is shutting its doors—a victim of the new U.K. government’s cost-cutting measures.

BECTA’s closing could leave many U.K. schools on their own as they struggle to integrate technology effectively into teaching and learning, and its absence could be felt in the United States as well, observers say.

However, last month a new political administration came into power in the U.K., putting in motion the Treasury’s decision to close BECTA by November 2010. The move is part of the new government’s plan to cut 6.2 billion pounds from the national budget for fiscal 2010-11, a plan necessitated by the global financial recession, officials say.
According to the U.K. newspaper The Guardian, the staff at BECTA’s headquarters anticipated cuts and job losses, but few were prepared for the 12-year agency’s closure. The closure will mean the loss of 240 jobs—and the loss of what BECTA Chairman Graham Badman said are valuable ICT services for schools and their students.

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Source: eSchool News