THERE are few things more frustrating in the modern technological world than the internet crashing.

The additional stress of the web going down in a classroom full of expectant pupils can only be imagined.

It is concerning then that Holyrood’s education committee heard internet problems were the single biggest bugbear for primary teachers in the delivery of Stem.

It is concerning also that MSPs heard angst about the state of computer equipment, with laptops so old the batteries no longer worked.

Given the importance of Stem to the future of the country’s economy, the fact such basics are not working is extremely worrying.

In recent weeks, the parliamentary inquiry has heard of a raft of other issues, including the lack of “enough bodies on the ground” to deliver Stem effectively and low confidence amongst teachers.

Another disturbing element to emerge at the latest committee was evidence teachers are not covering some of the basic topics, such as computing science, because no-one is checking whether they do or not.

One witness recalled a conversation at a recent conference where a teacher told her: “I think I can get away with it because no one will ever inspect these outcomes in computing science.”

A running theme of the committee inquiry has been the fact the Scottish Government’s main focus on literacy and numeracy is leading to primaries neglecting Stem teaching.

Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray asked if the promotion of Stem would continue to be an “uphill struggle” without a specific reference to it in the National Improvement Framework.

Alastair MacGregor, chief executive officer at the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre, said there was anecdotal evidence to support that.

It comes as stark contrast to the evidence of Andrew Bruce, deputy director in the Scottish Government’s learning directorate, who said last week that just because it wasn’t mentioned “it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.”