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Tired of homework, Foshan teen hacks local Bureau of Education website

Posted: 02/13/2012 1:11 pm

A 14-year-old Foshan student is deep in it after defacing his local Chancheng Bureau of Education website ( several times since the Chinese New Year holiday—in protest, he says, of the unrealistic amount of homework assigned over the holiday.

His most most recent hacking exploit was Monday last week, when the teen managed to disable the entire site for several days. His cyber-protests, however, have not fallen on deaf ears; even Xinhua reported on the stunt this past weekend, taking the time to talk to education officials in Foshan.

Xinhua writes that growing homework burdens for high school students have given rise to an “economic chain” online. Not only can high school students today easily find services advertised online allowing them to pay others to do their homework, but these services apparently now even offer group buy discounts, express packages, and even “anti-reconnaissance” (反侦察) services.

Because he didn’t mask his IP address, the student behind the attacks was easily tracked down. The school describes him as an average student, slightly obsessed with computers. As expected, he hadn’t completed his holiday homework load before it was time to go back to school this month, and decided to take down the government website instead. He confessed to the attacks, but appears to have gotten off without any fines or criminal charges.

Not only have the student’s low-level cyberattacks led to discussion locally about the issue of homework loads, but Xinhua writes that some schools in Foshan have also now begun tailoring assignments for individual students based on aptitude. In the case of students like this hacker, Xinhua writes, quoting one deputy bureau head in Chancheng, a gift for computers is something which ought to be fostered.

In schools in the city, the distinction is also now being made between mandatory assignments and those which are optional, leaving it up to students—and their parents—to decide how far to push themselves.

Further, now that Chancheng’s Bureau of Education site is back in operation, a forum has been added which students are being encouraged to use to offer suggestions and seek feedback from education authorities.

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