Becta: Does it deserve to die?

In the spending cuts unveiled by the coalition government this morning, one victim will have stood out for the IT community, says the BBC. British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), the quango which promotes the use of technology in schools, is to close, saving £65m next year. That means 240 jobs will go, and there will need to be a rethink of just how the huge program to put computers and other technology into the classroom is organized. So will Becta be missed? A few months back, I wrote here about the disquiet felt by some teachers about the Building Schools for The Future program and in particular its ICT budget. The concern was that the program was far too inflexible, with schools often ending up with out-of-date and expensive technology and not having the freedom to choose what they wanted, rather than what some bureaucrat felt they needed. That’s not all the fault of Becta, of course, but it has been criticised for being captured by technology suppliers and failing to keep up with trends like the use of open-source software.

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