Smartschool, a digital platform used by many Flemish schools, has reported system failures as the first day of Flemish schools’ 'cooling-off week' for education sees three times as many users logging on as during lockdown.
Despite having taken extra measures to prepare for the expected overload during this week, as children are not physically going to school for the week before the Carnival holidays to reduce school-related mobility for a total of two weeks, the online learning platform's users reported many issues on Monday morning.
As part of its preparations for this ‘cooling-off week’, during which there is an influx in students receiving distance education, Smartschool invested an ‘additional €250,000 to scale up the systems, according to the company’s president.
Most reported issues regarded the general activities of the system, including the uploading of materials by teachers, or the downloading of tasks by students.
- Flanders funds retired teachers to help students catch up
- Antwerp's neighbourhood test push sees low infection rate
Although many celebrations have been shared online about the platform issues, mainly from students, others are taking to Twitter to complain about Smartschool’s monopoly position. Others are referring to the last time Smartschool faced issues in April, during the last lockdown.
SmartSchool is een prive bedrijf dat na een jaar er nog steeds niet in slaagt om een AANGEKONDIGDE piek in verkeer op te vangen. Scholen hebben geen alternatief want SmartSchool is ook verweven met administratie.En ons belastinggeld betaalt die puinhoop. — Joris Meys (@JorisMeys) February 8, 2021
“SmartSchool is a private company that after a year still fails to handle an EXPECTED spike in traffic. Schools have no alternative because SmartSchool is also intertwined with the administration. And our tax money pays for that mess,” said Twitter user Joris Meys.
Een afkoelingsweek allemaal goed en wel, maar @BenWeyts heeft er duidelijk niet aan gedacht dat de @smartschool servers overbelest zouden geraken en zouden uitvallen. Een extra week vakantie noemen we dat dus ...— Kenzo Vandeputte (@KaneoFotografie) February 8, 2021
“A cooling week is very good and well, but @BenWeyts clearly did not consider that @smartschool servers would be overloaded and would fail. That’s what we call an extra week of vacation,” said Kenzo Vandeputte on Twitter.
In the meantime, the website is said to be ‘workable’ again, although certain regions may still face issues depending on the network providers, according to a Smartschool spokesperson, who said that the level of activity was ‘not predictable and extremely exceptional’.
The Brussels Times