December Microsoft issue affecting pupils could take ‘weeks’ to fix

December Microsoft issue affecting pupils could take ‘weeks’ to fix

Boy working at home

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image captionMicrosoft Teams is a key resource for alumni learning at home

A Microsoft issue that is affecting school pupils in Scotland during the first few days of home learning could take several weeks to resolve.

According to Education Scotland, the company is “just weeks away” from implementing a permanent fix to the “join” button on Microsoft Teams.

Delays in the chat function were also reported.

It comes after a separate Teams issue hit pupils across Scotland.

Various schools reported that the technology was running slowly or not at all on Monday. Education Scotland said this problem was resolved later that night.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the government is continuing to liaise with the company to resolve problems.

“National question”

Microsoft Teams is a major platform used for remote learning with schools closed to most pupils at least until early February.

In December, the company received complaints about problems with the “subscribe” button and the chat update, which the Scottish government still affects “a limited number of users”.

Then, on Monday, a number of schools, pupils and parents reported that the technology is working slowly or not working at all.

  • Pupils in Scotland struggle to get online due to a Microsoft problem

  • Pupils face disparities in remote learning

Microsoft said engineers were working to fix the problem. When asked if question from home education was the cause of the problem, the company declined to comment.

A primary school in Edinburgh sent a message to parents on Tuesday saying, “Microsoft is still having some issues with the Teams app. This is a national issue and hopefully it will be fixed soon.”

The BBC has contacted Microsoft for an update but has not yet received a response.

Education Scotland, the Scottish government agency responsible for improving education, said in an update on its website that it was continuing to work with the company.

The post said, “We continued to work with Microsoft’s technical team to resolve the intermittent login button error that impacted a limited number of users.

“We can confirm that Microsoft is a few weeks away from implementing a permanent solution for this problem. In the meantime, continue to use the manual solution and where we can expedite any work we will do.

“We have received a limited number of reports of chat delays during some meetings. Microsoft is investigating ways to improve the user experience, but it works as expected.

“There are operational usage changes that can be implemented by our users to improve their experience. If anyone needs assistance with this, please contact the helpdesk for more information.”

‘Clearly Make Things Difficult’

Ms Sturgeon reiterated during the daily briefing on Tuesday that the problem “is not just about education or just about Scotland”.

He said his cabinet had received a brief report on the matter from the education secretary that morning.

“We continue to argue with Microsoft,” he said. “Microsoft has assured that this problem has been fixed and hopefully it will be fixed soon.

“Not a problem with Glow, a Scottish Government asset.”

Glow gives users access to Microsoft Office 365, which includes Teams, and to G Suite apps like Google Classroom. Local authorities decide which one to use between Microsoft and G Suite.

Ms. Sturgeon added that Microsoft’s problem was “clearly making things harder than they already are” for parents, young people and teachers.

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