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Solutions for school administration

At a school conference, the school psychologist Dr. Zamboni asks the headmaster Mr. Papageno for a copy of another report which he does not have at hand. He offers to mail a copy to Dr. Zamboni, which she refuses for data protection reasons. Mr Papageno will send her the report in paper form, although Mrs Zamboni keeps paperless files, so she will scan the report and destroy the paper.

What are the possibilities?

  1. Traditionally, reports are distributed in paper form. They may be sent by "registered mail".
  2. The school has a password-protected access, quasi an electronic letter box, into which it can deposit something for a certain time for someone to pick up. The password must of course be handed over non-electronically.
  3. school psychologist Dr. Zamboni and headmaster Mr. Papageno also use "envelopes" for electronic mail (technically: encryption). Mr. Papageno has two options for this:
    • Either he takes the easy way: He looks for a solution to send items securely, i.e. encrypted, with his e-mail ( Or he goes first the somewhat more complex way and looks for a solution, with which the school (thus the entire school administration and also all teachers) with their E-Mail ( transmissions surely, thus encoded, can dispatch.

With CAcert, both solutions can be implemented easily and with a minimal budget. Commercial providers charge USD 90 or more per year for the required digital certificates.

All solutions are implemented with an electronic envelope. Technically, this is referred to as PGP or GPG encryption with an X.509 certificate, whereby the entire technology is taken over by the e-mail program. With such a certificate, however, your computer cannot only send e-mails securely:

In addition, there are a number of other areas of application, but these are not discussed here in detail.

==== Solution for individuals ===== The individual solution is quick and easy to set up. First, the principal (or whoever) opens a Account with CAcert. He then meets with two or three people from CAcert in the region and identifies himself to them with an official ID. In this way he collects "trust points" which are credited to his account. As soon as he has 50 "trust points", he can create a certificate with his name on and import it into his e-mail program (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.).

Solution for institutions

With a so-called Organisations-Assurance the school is checked and partners of CAcert. The school can then grant the necessary rights to its employees. This takes a little longer and requires the administration for the first time. In addition to the name of the individual user, the name of the school is also included in the certificate. The certificate is not only suitable for the rather rarely used encryption ("electronic envelope"), but also for the standard signature of all e-mails. For further information please contact the Organisations-Assurers or the managing director (e-Mail: secretary at-sign cacert no spam dot org).

If the employees of the school have a certificate, it is worthwhile to use the digital signature in the school as standard. In practice, it looks like this:

  1. The school management only sends digitally signed e-mails.
  2. Teachers also send only digitally signed e-mails via the school address.
  3. in the upper classes, the topic of digital identity and its verifiability is addressed. In this context, the children/young people are also shown how they can prove their identity digitally. This can be relevant, for example, when choosing a profession or applying for a job. There is also the CAcert-Junior-Programm from the age of 14.


It has been pointed out several times how expensive such a solution would be with a commercial provider. CAcert as a non-profit community of users (and behind it an equally non-profit association for the operation of the infrastructure) has been offering these certificates free of charge since 2003. However, CAcert is dependent on donations to ensure that there is enough money to replace old servers or to pay for the power of the data center. As a hopefully fair suggestion, we recommend that you donate the costs of a commercial certificate (around USD 50-70*) to CAcert annually per headmaster or employee in the headmaster's office. For example: 1 headmaster and 12 teachers = 50-70$ donation and 840$ saved. Or: 3 principals, 1 secretary and 56 teachers: 200-300$ donation and 3920$ saved. The annual accounts are published on the occasion of the annual general meeting. more on the subject of donations, Bank account details

School law

Can or may a teacher receive a deregistration, an apology and similar binding information from parents if they are transmitted electronically, e.g. as an e-mail, SMS or message on a news service (WhatsApp, etc.)? In a detailed report in the magazine Bildung Schweiz, lawyer and primary teacher Peter Hofmann drew attention to the sensitive points. CAcert shows how parent contacts can be organised without putting their foot in the legal mouth or being on the safe side: School law: solutions for schools in Switzerland. For other countries, laws are different, but it is worth to read this article about Switzerland and adapt it to your country. We would be happy to publish your version too.

Further information

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