17 February 2003
To date Swisscom has invested around 3 million francs in the installation of broadband Internet access in Swiss schools. The annual operating costs calculated according to market prices currently amount to some 20 million francs. Once all 5,000 schools are linked, this will result in an annual investment of around 50 million francs. "In 20 years? time, people who are unable to get to grips with the Internet will be faced with the same problems as those who today are unable to read and write," says Swisscom CEO Jens Alder. This is why Swisscom is investing in the Swiss education system and in the long term in the Swiss economy. At the joint press conference organised by Swisscom, the Federal Government and the cantons, Mario Annoni outlined the role played by the cantons through their responsibility to ensure the spread of knowledge by means of this educational initiative. "Don't just learn how to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) - use ICT to learn" was the motto of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education, said Annoni and continued: "Our aim is to ensure alongside Swisscom that wherever possible all schools receive Internet access." The Director of the OPET, Eric Fumeaux pointed to the financial commitment received from the Federal Government to enable teachers and educational organisations to implement ICT as a constructive supplement to normal teaching as soon as possible. Fumeaux said that it lay in the interests of all of us "and in particular the younger generation that the information society is developed in a sustained and appropriate manner."
The new Swisscom "Internet for Schools" locomotive RE-460 was inaugurated on Monday in the depot at Berne main railway station. Together with Joseph Deiss and Mario Annoni, Jens Alder unveiled the locomotive belonging to Swiss Federal Railways in front of the media. By travelling throughout Switzerland, the locomotive is also intended to contribute to the symbolic networking of Switzerland. Schoolchildren on their way to school with a laptop on their backs can be seen on both sides of the locomotive ? on one side in a rural area and on the other in a town.
With its "Internet for Schools" project, Swisscom is the main partner of the PPP-SiN educational initiative launched by the Federal Council together with the cantons and private partners (Public Private Partnership - Schools on the Net). The initiative aims for the new media to be integrated from primary school level upwards, making targeted use of information technology an everyday reality for future generations. Swisscom is providing all schools in Switzerland with free broadband Internet access. Once a school is connected to the network, pupils and teachers have unlimited Internet access around the clock and without volume restrictions. A central firewall protects the schools? network from unauthorised tampering from outside.
The Swisscom "Internet for Schools" initiative aims to significantly enhance the technological upturn at Swiss schools and thereby promote our country's most important resource - education. To this end Swisscom is offering all schools free broadband Internet access. The target is for all Swiss schools to be on the Internet by the end of 2005. A few concrete figures provide evidence that "Internet for Schools" has fallen on fertile ground: 1'856 schools had benefited from the educational drive by the end of January 2003, a total of 26'701 classes throughout Switzerland. In theory 484'596 pupils can already surf using a broadband line sponsored by Swisscom, with 39'634 PCs and 15'700 MACs available to them.
The smallest school to date that Swisscom has linked to the Internet is the primary school in Vogorno (Ticino). Ten pupils there have access to the Internet via four PCs. The largest school in Switzerland to have benefited from "Internet for Schools" is St. Gallen Vocational School, where 5'310 pupils use the World Wide Web for educational purposes on a total of 335 PCs. The best-equipped school technologically is the Technical School in Porrentruy (Jura), with 50 networked PCs for 45 pupils.
Berne, 17 February 2003