Online applications for tertiary
Compounding matters was the fact that information was scanty to the consumers while the call centre was as good as being nonexistent because the numbers provided continuously rang unanswered.
What happened was the system had frozen after asking for the candidate number and year of study at stage 2 or 3. But others went up to stage 8 only for the system to send them back to stage 1.
This led to many having to try the entire week without any success. One applicant said: “We called the office phone that one does not go through, we called the call centre, those numbers are not answered, and they ring until they die out”.
Some parents physically went to the DTEF offices and were told to go back and try the system again. Others were told that someone would call them back after their names were taken, but that did not happen. “We have tried to log in, with a phone, an iPad and a laptop just trying to assess if the problem could be a particular device but it still did not work. “We have changed the type of internet, we used Wifi, we changed to mobile data but it did not work. We tried to use the system, during the day, in the morning, and in the afternoon, but nothing happened”. Director DTEF, Neo Sebolao told this publication that the system came live on 23rd August at midnight so that it could be used to process requests for financing at different learning tertiary institutions. “When a new system is launched there must be some test, but they must be exhaustive. We did that but still expected that we will have teething problems, but not as extensive as the ones that we experienced.
“In our investigations, we noticed there were issues to the hardware of the memory which meant that it could not handle the bigger numbers ( of applications) as a result we started noticing that the system was not operating optimally. “Instead it was timing out, secondly it could not allow the applicants into the web. We have since increased the number of servers at different levels. The situation has improved, but we continued with our troubleshooting where we have just noticed that there are issues with the application. “We believe we should have resolved all the problems of the software depleting the memory by end of the day on Thursday”. When it comes to the call centres below performance, Sebolao, said, “We originally asked BTC to upgrade the call centre to have automatic answering, but it appeared like just an ordinary landline. We have since asked BTC to upgrade and configure it in such as a way that it will show it is engaged”.