Beware of BOGUS COLLEGES
How prospective students can avoid fly-by-night private institutions
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