Don’t fall prey to bogus colleges
Authorities have already shut down four institutions in Rustenburg, Nelspruit and Durban
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.”