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By | Mark Ballard 27th April 2007 08:37

Dell finally switches on PC network in Glasgow schools

177 schools left without computers for weeks

Dell has finished a managed education service piped to schools in Glasgow a mere four weeks after it was due.

The PC firm's tardiness left children in 177 primary schools without computers for nearly two weeks.

According to a spokeswoman at Glasgow City Council, schools were expecting to be using their shiny new Dell computers when they returned from their Easter break last Monday. But unspecified technical problems at the launch of the new service left kids scrabbling for their sticks of chalk and slate tablets.

Dell did some scrabbling too, announcing last thing Thursday that it had managed to fix the problem at all Glasgow's schools, where it was supposed to have supplied 7,400 computers.

Dell insisted in a written statement that Glasgow was getting "the best possible teaching and learning environment". Before you ask, they're talking about the teaching and learning environment post PC installation.

Dell said its deadline to launch the £15m service had been Monday 16 April. When the PC giant announced the deal in February, it said it was due to begin with a phased approach on 1 April. It must have been joking.

When the deal was announced, Ronnie O'Connor, Glasgow's executive education director, said he was expecting Dell to deliver the "best possible teaching and learning environment" and the "most up to date ICT provision anywhere in the country."

What it appears to have been is some PCs with internet connections.

The spokeswoman said Glasgow would be seeking compensation from the PC firm. But neither Dell nor the council could say exactly what the problem was.

There are few things that have caused the problem, seeing as what Dell appeared to be doing was supplying PCs and supporting infrastructure and making sure it all ticked along nicely during term time (known in the parlance as a "managed service"). One Scottish paper said the firm had a problem with the Microsoft software it was using to deliver email to the schools. But Dell was having to swap machines out of the schools as well.®

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