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IT issues led to a blip in the restart of ‘remote learning’ for a small number of local pupils and tutors this week.
With the doors of Scotland’s education system remaining shut to the vast majority, Argyll College – which runs some courses for students based at Oban High School – saw a hiccup on Monday January 11, when remote classes were due to get under way after the extended Christmas holidays.
Some tutors were apparently unable to log in to provide work for their classes in subjects including beauty and hairdressing, along with legal studies and maritime skills.
Oban High School shared news of the delay while Argyll College apologised for any inconvenience.
A college spokesperson told The Oban Times: ‘Two lecturers and a small number of school pupils did have difficulty accessing the online learning platform used by Argyll and Bute education department.
‘We have worked swiftly with colleagues in Oban High School to resolve this. We are aware of similar problems throughout the sector but we do understand the frustration caused by such IT issues.’
John Swinney MSP, cabinet secretary for education, confirmed that schools across Scotland experienced problems using Microsoft Office 365 and Google Classroom on the opening day of the return to remote learning.
‘These (problems) were experienced by Microsoft users across the United Kingdom and parts of Europe,’ he said.
Glow Connect, Scotland’s digital learning platform, has seen a recent surge in demand.
Latest statistics up to November 2020 show that 420,000 users logged in more than 7.6 million times, said Mr Swinney.
That compared to November 2019 when just 260,000 users logged in 3.7 million times, he said.
Ministers were told that the Scottish Government had ‘significantly enhanced’ national e-learning and also grown provision for live remote learning.
But he conceded that it could not replicate ‘in-school teaching’ in style, approach or hours of delivery.
‘The best place for young people to learn is in school. We are doing everything we can to allow them to return safely as soon as possible,’ said Mr Swinney.
In a review of lockdown restrictions on Tuesday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced schools and nurseries would remain closed to most children until at least mid February.
She said this would be reviewed on February 2 when she hopes to provide a firmer timetable for a return.
The review will take into account the latest evidence about the coronavirus variant in Scotland and any progress made in reducing transmission levels in communities.