The introduction of digital devices such as tablets and laptops by the Scottish government for “digitally excluded pupils” has been described by the Scottish Labour Party as a “shambles”
The party said the timetable for the delivery of the equipment was “very optimistic” and cautioned that to achieve the “ambitious” objectives, better preparation was needed.
This week, the Scottish government revealed that more than 23,000 iPads and Chromebooks will be sent as part of the Connecting Scotland initiative to low-income families and care leavers, which aims to meet about 50,000 digitally excluded individuals by the end of 2021.
Earlier this year, ministers faced criticism that the devices were not being delivered to students quickly enough, despite spending about £ 9 million on 25,000 devices.
Digital learning: a look into the future of the classroom in Scotland
Iain Gray, Scottish Labour’s education spokesperson, said, “The SNP can talk about a good game, but they fail to deliver on their promises time and time again.”
Access to tablets or laptops is an essential aspect of maintaining access to learning, with more and more school children learning in isolation at home or engaging in blended learning.’
Owing to the number of young people who may need to take time out of school during the pandemic, online learning support for pupils is also very limited and inconsistent across schools – this must change.
The promises made by the Scottish Government to supply equipment fell well short of expectations. Given the constraints of the pandemic, the expected timelines for implementation were very ambitious, and the roll-out so far has been a shambles.
“This is not the time for self-congratulation. The promise of Chromebooks only fills the gap left by the failure of previous Connecting Scotland targets, and better planning is needed if the SNP government is to deliver on its promise to provide pupils with digital devices by the end of the year.”
For comment, the Scottish Government has been contacted.