Over 300 attempts to hack admissions site

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Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the objective of hacking attempts on the department's Web site remains unknown.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says the objective of hacking attempts on the department's Web site remains unknown.

Attempts to hack the online learner application Web site have not stopped, says Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

Lesufi made the comments this week, as he delivered an update on the online learner admissions process, which has been the subject of much frustration for Gauteng parents.

According to Lesufi, the GDE recorded more than 300 hacking attempts since the department's online registration Web site went live last week.

"All of these attempts have been unsuccessful and this gives us confidence in our system security. The objectives of those behind these attempts remain unknown to us."

Last week, the department stated it was notified about 13 unsuccessful attempts to hack the system a day after the site went live.

Despite the hacking attempts, the department has commended Gauteng parents who have heeded the call to complete the online learner admissions process and register their children online.

From the time the GDE announced parents of leaners who would be entering grade one and eight for the 2017 academic year would be required to use the department's online system to register, the online application system has been plagued by many technical glitches.

Phase one of the online learner admissions process to enable parents to register and verify their details for the 2017 academic school year got off to a rocky start when the site crashed. The department managed to get it up and going a few days later.

On 19 April, the 8am launch of the site was delayed after the department said it experienced "a technical glitch". The Web site could only be accessed after 2:30pm.

Parents heed the call

Following last year's more than 30 000 late applications, the department sought to make learner registration tech-savvy, as well as minimise long queues during the registration period, encouraging parents to make use of the Web site to register children.

The GDE launched the online application process to track admissions in all the schools, manage the applications and avoid duplications. The GDE's Web site also matches a learner with the school closest to their place of residence.

Since the site went live last week, over 370 000 applications have been processed, according to Lesufi.

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"We are pleased to announce that many challenges we have been experiencing with the system have been addressed and we are generally satisfied with the progress we have made with our online application process.

"The over 370 000 applications processed thus far represents an average of over 53 000 applications per day," explained Lesufi.

Lesufi noted his department will meet with all principals in the province on 3 May, to allow them to share their concerns with the process, enabling the GDE to better understand challenges within the system.

"This will ensure that working directly with schools we are better prepared for the placement period of learners and that our objective of ensuring that teaching and learning commence of the first day of the 2017 academic year is realised," he said.

The department's online leaner application period is open until 1 June. The placement of learners will commence from 24 June until 25 July.

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