Thousands attempt to hack into HESLB loan allocation database

10Oct 2019
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Thousands attempt to hack into HESLB loan allocation database

THERE have been around 2700 attempts to hack the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) online loans application and allocation database as the new academic year starts, with intent to irregularly release money to applicants.

HESLB director general Abdul-Razaq Badru told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the attempts were however blocked thanks to improved data and systems security.

Badru was giving key updates on loans allocation for the Deputy Minister for Education, Science and Technology, William ole Nasha who toured the HESLB head offices.

He said a back-up site has been established at the National Data Centre at Mikocheni and four Information Communication Technology (ICT) staff recruited, boosting its ICT strength.

In addition to overcoming the sabotage efforts, the board has also developed an online Student Individual Permanent Account (SIPA), while also developing a Students Online Correction facility and an online appeal facility. These have been completed and tested, he affirmed.

“We are working on connecting our systems with the National Council for Technical Education (NACTE), the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) and other key stakeholders to simplify all these issues,” he declared.

The board is contemplating making the application window open throughout the year, he further noted.

Charles Stefano, the secretary general of the Tanzania Higher Learning Institutions Students' Organization (TAHLISO) said many students fail to get loans by failing to properly fill in the forms due to various challenges such as using technology.
“Students who studied in private schools are denied loans because they studied in private schools. At times the issue is that the students are sponsored and the sponsor stops upon completion of secondary education,” he stated.

Other bottlenecks to accessing loans include the timing of loan application as the system allows only those who have been admitted to universities to apply, he said.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is delays in disbursement of loan money to the respective universities and then to students, he said.

So far the board has 82,043 complete loan applications and 5,593 incomplete applications, in view of which the board has extended its applications deadline from October 10 to 15, he said.

Deputy Minister ole Nasha hailed the board for the various initiatives it is taking to improve its systems and ensure efficient performance of its tasks.