'Austria's approach to the information age is as dynamic as Sleeping Beauty's. Only 43% of state schools have access to the internet, and IT classes are overcrowded. R&D expenditure comprises only 1.8% of GDP, and the proportion of IT academics is on a par with Turkey. Moreover, the economy is suffering from an acute shortage of IT specialists. According to Fritz Bock, a new-economy consultant at the Chamber of Commerce, this has cost the IT and telecoms sector - which turned over Sch150 billion in 2000 - nearly Sch50 billion since 1998. About 14,000 experts are required to fill the gap, but universities and technical colleges produce only 3,500 a year. It will take a long time to boost that figure, as teacher-training colleges have only just introduced IT classes. The obvious solution is to recruit foreign specialists, but even a modest plan to give 4,000 IT experts green cards has been thwarted by the government's strict anti-immigration stance.'
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