Czech schoolchildren to receive Internet tuition

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The Internet may be commonplace in schools up and down North America and Western Europe, but here in the Czech Republic access to cyberspace is decidedly more limited. Well, that may be about to change with the launch of a new initiative targeted at schoolchildren and their teachers. Peter Smith has more:

The Planet Internet project involves a number of the top Internet service providers here in the Czech Republic, in partnership with the monopoly fixed-line telecommunications company, Cesky Telecom. As well as providing special Internet rates for schools and educational institutions, Planeta will also run a series of Internet seminars -- at 12 regional centres -- for pupils and their teachers. According to Planeta's director, Antonin Drahovzal, it presents an opportunity hitherto denied to many youngsters in this country: One of the main barriers to Internet availability in the CR has undoubtedly been the relatively high cost of telecommunication charges compared to other countries. In the past few years this has led to virulent criticism of the state monopoly Cesky Telecom. According to Telecom's Jiri Hajek, though, the state giant has learnt its lesson: There is an argument that the state should be doing more to promote Internet fluency among the young in the CR. Others believe it primary an exercise in the positive influence of private business. Antonin Drahovzal again: