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Cut Becta has 'served its purpose', says PA
24.05.10 | Catherine Neilan
The Publishers Association has come out in support of the closure of schools IT quango Becta, saying the diversion of funds may better support current needs, and that the agency had "served its purpose".
The closure of the agency, formerly known as the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, was announced today (24th May) by new chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s and David Laws, chief secretary to the Treasury, as part of plans to cut more than £6bn of public spending. The pair did not give a timescale for the closure.
The decision met with surprise by the Publishers Association, which had anticipated cutbacks to the quango's budget "but perhaps not complete closure".
However, Graham Taylor, director of educational, academic and professional publishing at the PA, added: "We have worked effectively with Becta in the past, especially at the time of e-learning credits and Curriculum Online, but in recent times they have been less concerned with pedagogy and content and more with infrastructure and IT capability.
"Many schools are thought to be approaching e-maturity now, so perhaps a specialist agency has served its purpose. IT is a means to an end, not an end in itself. As publishers, we would rather the funds were in the schools and available to invest in high-quality, value-added content to the benefit of the classroom experience."