Be­ware of BO­GUS COL­LEGES

How prospec­tive stu­dents can avoid fly-by-night pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions

Move! - - ISSUE - By Phaka­mani Mve­lashe

THE lack of spa­ces at pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges, and anx­ious par­ents who want their chil­dren to ac­cess post-school ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, is pos­ing a chal­lenge. This re­sults in many prospec­tive stu­dents en­rolling at un­reg­is­tered pri­vate higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions and col­leges that are preva­lent at this time of the year.

DO YOUR HOME­WORK

The De­part­ment of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing urges stu­dents to ver­ify the ac­cred­i­ta­tion and reg­is­tra­tion sta­tus of pri­vate higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions and col­leges, their pro­grammes and sites with the de­part­ment, rel­e­vant Sec­tor Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Au­thor­ity as well as the Qual­ity Coun­cil for Trades and Oc­cu­pa­tions, Coun­cil on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Umalusi.

Early last year, the de­part­ment com­pleted a cam­paign to in­spect pri­vate col­leges.

“Among the com­mon find­ings was the il­le­gal prac­tice of reg­is­ter­ing just one qual­i­fi­ca­tion with the rel­e­vant qual­ity coun­cil and fraud­u­lently adding other un­ac­cred­ited pro­grammes un­der that li­cence,” said the de­part­ment in a state­ment.

NOT ALL PRI­VATE COL­LEGES ARE FAKE

The de­part­ment’s spokesper­son, Madikwe Mabotha, clar­i­fied that not all pri­vate col­leges out there are fake but one needs to be care­ful be­fore they en­rol or even pay a cent to­wards them. “When you go to pri­vate col­leges, check them on the reg­is­trar. Please en­sure that the col­lege is reg­is­tered be­fore you pay any­thing,” warns Madikwe. He says par­ents and stu­dents should make use of de­part­ment’s web­site to find out whether a col­lege is reg­is­tered or not.

“The onus is on the in­di­vid­ual to make sure that they study at a cred­i­ble in­sti­tu­tion,” he af­firms. He ad­mits that it’s dif­fi­cult to tell at face value as th­ese in­sti­tu­tions make sure they look le­git.

“Th­ese op­er­a­tors al­ways go for the pop­u­lar cour­ses such as nurs­ing and bridg­ing cour­ses un­der the pre­tence that they guar­an­tee an in­di­vid­ual en­try to big in­sti­tu­tions,” he warns.

WHEN YOU’VE BEEN SCAMMED

But if you’ve al­ready fallen vic­tim to th­ese il­le­gal op­er­a­tors, you can de­mand your money back.

Madikwe says an­other op­tion would be to open a case with the po­lice or go to the small claims court if the amount is less than R15 000.

“Th­ese il­le­gal op­er­a­tors are get­ting clever by the day and are a step ahead of the au­thor­i­ties. We’ve been work­ing with the po­lice to help us shut th­ese col­leges down,” he says.

To check if an in­sti­tu­tion is bo­gus or not, go to: www.dhet.gov.za/re­sources/Reg­is­ters or call toll free num­ber: 0800 87 2222

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