Beware fly-by-night colleges punting unrecognised qualifications

Date: 10 Jan 2019

MATRICULANTS who recently passed have been urged to be vigilant and not fall prey to unregistered colleges.

Before paying and registering at a private college, prospective students have been advised to check if their institution of choice is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

“Parents and matriculants must ensure they don’t fall prey to institutions that are either not registered and accredited, or whose qualifications are not recognised,” said Nola Payne, head of information and communications technology at The Independent Institute of Education.

Payne said if there were any doubts, they should have another look at available options rather than adopting a potentially expensive wait-and-see approach in their first year.

“This month provides an opportunity for prospective students to investigate all their options and sign up for a quality qualification with an accredited institution, whether they left it too late, or performed better than envisioned. And those who have already signed up should honestly assess whether they are excited about the degree on which they will embark, as well as the institution,” she said.

To look up a qualification on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), search for it on the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) website, or ask the institution for its SAQA identity number, which should be readily available, Payne said.

“If the institution is recognised by the DHET and the programme is listed on the NQF, prospective students and their parents can be confident.”

Stanford Mazhindu, spokesperson of trade union UASA, said: “Do careful research into the available options.

“Fly-by-night institutions that are not registered with the DHET and that supply students with invalid qualifications are on the rise.”

He said while private institutions might be the only hope for those who have not been admitted at public universities, caution was vital.

“Thousands of rand are lost every year to these fraudulent institutions that take advantage of the limited space at universities and other tertiary institutions,” he said.

“Private institutions are often the next step, but not all of them are operating within the law.”

By Makgotso Emegha

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