After 12 years of service to education, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) is going to be retired. Becta is the government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning. According to their (presumably soon to be dismantled) website, Becta’s remit includes:
- raising educational achievement
- narrowing the gap between rich and poor
- improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people
- increasing the number of young people on the path to success
- improving the skills of the whole population throughout their working lives
- building social and community cohesion
- strengthening the Further and Higher education systems.
I have always valued the support and advice that Becta provided, and the decision to close them down means that schools, academies, local authorities and educational charities will need to find new and creative ways to embed deep thinking into their decisions about learning technologies, ICT and e-learning. The use of new technologies in education is only justified when it can make a demonstrable contribution to the raising of educational standards, whether that be through improving attainment, progression, engagement, enjoyment or by making educational institutions more efficient.
I will always be grateful for the resources and support that Becta provided and for their contribution to the educational discourse that now allows so many to face current and future technologies with confidence and ambition.