Although specific fundamental system problems with the Gauteng Education Department’s e-platform for school applications were addressed after FEDSAS insisted on changes, the system as a whole is not delivering results as promised or expected. On 10 May FEDSAS brought to the attention of the Department specific issues with the platform pertaining to system logic and user interaction.
“We were also involved in a test run after the Department addressed these specific technical issues. In this regard there were positive results and we appreciate the Department’s willingness to react after we raised these issues. While we are satisfied with how FEDSAS’ specific requests were addressed, it has since become clear that the system as a whole is not up to standard,” says Mr Paul Colditz, CEO of FEDSAS.
Colditz says one of the new concerns is problems with the integrity of the system. “During the test run FEDSAS enquired about the system’s ability to handle large numbers. Although the Department assured us that the system can accommodate up to 50 000 users simultaneously, the results of these tests were not shared with FEDSAS as the Department, as owner, remains responsible for the system. Security aspects relating to the system were also discussed with the Department.”
Earlier today (Wednesday, 22 May 2019) FEDSAS sent urgent communication to the Department to enquire about security problems with the system in reaction to reports that a single application can reflect numerous times on different schools’ lists. “Significant numbers of duplications were included in the original results and statistics communicated by the Department, which resulted in a misrepresentation of the functioning of the system,” says Colditz.
Colditz says FEDSAS has maintained from the beginning that, should the system not function as promised, the organisation retains its full right to act in the interests of its members. “We share the Department’s view that some of the current issues, although unnecessary, can be fixed through programming. However, we are concerned about the integrity of the system given certain statistics that were published and how pressure on the system resulted in certain functions not working as it should.”
Colditz says FEDSAS has asked the Department for urgent clarification on these new issues. “FEDSAS is willing to provide its full cooperation but if the Department cannot guarantee the system as a whole FEDSAS will have to inform its members that the organisation no longer supports the process in its current format. In the end it is not about using technology but about the proper implementation of the stipulations of the Constitution. For FEDSAS this is not negotiable and the organisation will act to ensure that the process adheres to all relevant legal requirements.”