HP clinches £70m NI schools deal


20 Mar 2003

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Jane Kennedy, MP and Minister with responsibility for Education at the Northern Ireland Office, has signed a managed services contract worth £70m sterling with Hewlett-Packard (HP) as part of the ongoing Classroom 2000 (C2K) project, providing an information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure for Northern Ireland’s schools.

The technology will enable the linking of all individual school networks into an online data centre.

Speaking at a reception to announce the signing of the contract in Malone College, Belfast, Kennedy said: “This contract, which brings our investment in C2K to £204m, will provide email and messaging systems, online conferencing services, web publishing and hosting facilities for all 370,000 pupils and teachers in our grant-aided schools. The online data centre will provide broadband access to a wide range of education materials directly supportive of the Northern Ireland curriculum.

“C2K will also provide wider access to the schools’ management information system, which is a key requirement in helping to reduce the bureaucratic burden on our teachers.

“The recently published review of our Education Technology Strategy revealed that 85pc of the targets set in 1997 for technological change in schools have been or will be met by the end of this school year. This success is down to the commitment of our teachers working in partnership with education organisations and the private sector.”

Joe Martin, chief executive of the Western Education and Library Board, which negotiated the C2K Public/Private Partnership contracts on behalf of the education service, said: “All C2K contracts have now been put in place; these will ensure that we have the best possible ICT infrastructure for schools in Northern Ireland.”

Work will begin during this school year to install the equipment in a number of pilot schools, and the Northern Ireland Data Centre will be available to all schools by March 2004.

By Brian Skelly

Pictured: Jane Kennedy, MP and Minister with responsibility for Education at the Northern Ireland Office, (centre) today announced the signing of a contract worth £70m sterling with Hewlett-Packard (HP) as part of the ongoing C2K project to provide an ICT infrastructure for Northern Ireland’s schools. Joining her at the event at Malone College, Belfast were Joe Martin, chief executive Western Education and Library Board, Clifford Harris and Martin Murphy, HP and pupil, Nichola Kane.<