Becta to close in government cuts
The British Education Communications Technology Agency (Becta) – the quango which promotes the use of technology in schools – is to be scrapped as part of the government’s £6.2bn public spending cuts.
Closing the scheme will save in the region of £80m, said Chancellor George Osborne and Treasury minister David Laws, in a joint speech outlining how the new Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition will save £6.2bn over the next year by cutting back on public spending. A further £95m will be saved through cuts in IT spending.
Becta says that its aim is to promote the use of technology in education. It came under fire recently for ignoring open source software in favour of proprietary software.
“Naturally we are very disappointed at the Government’s decision,” said Graham Badman, chairman and Stephen Crowne, chief executive of Becta in a joint statement. “Becta is a very effective organisation with an international reputation, delivering valuable services to schools, colleges and children. Our procurement arrangements save the schools and colleges many times more than Becta costs to run.”
It is thought that over 200 jobs will be at risk when the agency closes down, which is expected to happen in November this year. “Our top priorities now are to make sure we have an orderly and fair process for staff, and that as far as possible schools, colleges and children continue to benefit from the savings and support that Becta has provided,” the statement said.