Don’t fall prey to bo­gus col­leges

Au­thor­i­ties have al­ready shut down four in­sti­tu­tions in Rusten­burg, Nel­spruit and Dur­ban

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - LER­ATO DIALE

BO­GUS col­leges have be­gun cash­ing in on the last-minute rush for place­ment at in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing.

The scram­ble for spa­ces comes amid in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing stick­ing to their guns on not ac­cept­ing walk-ins or late ap­pli­ca­tions and flyby-night col­leges ex­ploit­ing that gap. Au­thor­i­ties this week said they had al­ready shut down four of­fend­ing in­sti­tu­tions in Rusten­burg, Dur­ban, and Nel­spruit.

Depart­ment of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing spokesper­son Lunga Ngqen­gelele said the cul­prits’ modus operandi in­cludes op­er­at­ing with­out reg­is­ter­ing with the depart­ment as re­quired by leg­is­la­tion, of­fer­ing cour­ses at un­reg­is­tered sites and of­fer­ing un­reg­is­tered and or un­ac­cred­ited pro­grammes or qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

The depart­ment also iden­ti­fied fran­chis­ing, mis­lead­ing ad­ver­tis­ing, on­line of­fer­ing of qual­i­fi­ca­tions and claim­ing in­ter­na­tional ac­cred­i­ta­tion as some of the means em­ployed by these in­sti­tu­tions. To curb the prac­tice, the depart­ment has opened cases with the SAPS and col­lab­o­rated with other law en­force­ment agen­cies and listed bo­gus col­leges on its web­site.

The depart­ment, said Ngqen­gelele, had also em­barked on a pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign which in­cludes us­ing me­dia chan­nels and col­lab­o­rat­ing with the SA Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Au­thor­ity (SAQA), Umalusi, Coun­cil on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, Qual­ity Coun­cil for Trades and Oc­cu­pa­tions, the SA Na­tional Taxi Coun­cil and the Depart­ment of Basic Ed­u­ca­tion.

“The depart­ment is­sues pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions with a cer­tifi­cate of reg­is­tra­tion only af­ter meet­ing stip­u­lated re­quire­ments which in­clude, among oth­ers, the ac­cred­i­ta­tion re­port as is­sued by the qual­ity coun­cil or del­e­gated or­gan­i­sa­tion, health and safety re­port, au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ments and fi­nan­cial surety. The cer­tifi­cate of reg­is­tra­tion is not trans­fer­able,” he said.

Mean­while, SAQA deputy CEO Dr Julie Reddy en­cour­aged the pub­lic to re­port bo­gus col­leges.

“Al­though the prob­lem of mis­rep­re­sented qual­i­fi­ca­tions is often per­ceived as big, less than 1% of the qual­i­fi­ca­tions we ver­ify are found to be mis­rep­re­sented. How­ever, no mat­ter how small, mis­rep­re­sented qual­i­fi­ca­tions un­der­mine the cred­i­bil­ity of our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem,” said Reddy, adding that SAQA reg­u­larly sub­mits a list of mis­rep­re­sented qual­i­fi­ca­tions to the depart­ment.

“We also re­port cases of mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion to the po­lice and the Hawks and let the le­gal process take its course. With the amend­ments to the Na­tional Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Frame­work Act, we will be re­quired to cre­ate a regis­ter of mis­rep­re­sented qual­i­fi­ca­tions.”

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