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Premium-rate industry pushes into class

Hay kids, let's do the show on a mobile phone!

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Budding entrepreneurs are to be encouraged to develop premium-rate content by the industry regulator, with free lesson plans and downloads from the Ministry of Sound to make ringtone creation part of the UK curriculum.

The plans come from PhonepayPlus, the regulator formally known as ICSTIS, and comprise a new programme called PhoneBrain. Apparently the regulator has forgotten launching this two years ago. The programme is intended to help kids develop business plans based around premium-rate numbers as well as educating them about how to use such services.

It's hard to imagine many teenagers needing help operating a mobile phone, and given the way that ringtone revenue is declining it seems insane to educate children in the business. You might as well teach them coal mining, or cotton spinning.

Pupils develop business plans at school these days - now that everyone is expected to run their own dot com by the age of 20 - and handing out free lesson plans is one way to make sure teachers get involved. But whether it's useful to spend classroom time creating ringtones is another matter. A canned quote from Dominic Evans, Assistant Head of Sixth Form at Business Academy in Bexley, sums up the situation:

"The kids are really engaged and love using the technology to create their own personal ringtones. We have to drag them away when the bell rings!"

Well, that's one way of keeping them in school, but will it teach them to bend, not break, the rules? ®

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