chapter  Chapter Five
19 Pages

The Role of Big Business in UK Education Technology Policy and Practice

WithNeil Selwyn

This chapter examines the role of the private sector in education technology at the policy level – exploring the role that private interests play in shaping educational technology through the ‘voices’ of public and private actors currently involved in the National Grid for Learning and New Labour’s wider education drive. Michael Apple, for example, drew attention to the extent to which education had been turned into a ‘business’ by capitalist enterprise pursuing profits via the creation and sale of curriculum and testing materials. The narrative provides a strong sense of the role(s) and motivations of private and public actors during the formation and ongoing implementation of the policy. In this way, the data are presented in three distinct themes; the public/private origins of the National Grid for Learning; the IT industry and its participation in the formation of the National Grid for Learning (NGfL); and the sustainability of private sector involvement in the NGfL.