Schools system hacks the hackers

21 April 2016 - 02:42 By Katharine Child

Thirteen professional hackers tried to hack the Gauteng education department's online school application system.But the system "hacked the hackers back".So said Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.The applications site went live on Monday after a six-hour delay because of technical problems.Lesufi said more than 188000 parents had applied for places for Grade 1 or Grade 8 children.It received 37500 hits a second on Monday afternoon. Lesufi said: "These statistics give us confidence that people have heeded our call to register online."Half a million applications were expected, he said.The online system would stop fraud, such as that documented by NGO Corruption Watch in which parents and officials at schools allowed some people to jump the application queue, he said.The Federation of School Governing Bodies of SA said yesterday that it had decided not to litigate against the department because two important changes to the online system had been made on Monday. The CEO of the federation, Paul Colditz, said: "The site was changed so that parents could indicate their school of choice and the online applications will be sent to the schools for the compilation of the so-called A and B lists. This means a school's language and admissions policies are taken into account."In its previous format, the site allocated a school based on the parents' address and it was not possible for applicants to indicate their language preference."Some problems persisted. Foreigners had difficulty accessing the site because it did not allow people to enter ID numbers that included letters.The department's Oupa Bodipe said this was a "technical problem" that had been rectified.

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