Prospective tertiary students warned of bogus colleges

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Fraudpic-jobsBy: Sanele James

The South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) warned Grade 12 pupils and prospective tertiary students of the prevalence of ‘bogus colleges which defraud students’.

The DHET describes the colleges as illegitimate institutions of learning which operate illegally without certification and or accreditation from the DHET, thus issuing unaccredited qualifications to students.

As Grade 12 pupils write their final examinations, each hoping to secure a place of study with an institution of their choice; the hard pill to swallow is that not all will manage due to circumstances; being lack of funds, poor results and late applications. As a result some will fall victims of these said to be opportunists, bogus colleges.

Dr Mandlenkosi Buthelezi who is the Director of Private Technical and Vocational Education Training colleges (TVET) in the DHET has urged prospective students to be sceptical and act responsibly when choosing an institution at which to further their studies.

“Not everything advertised in the media is legitimate; therefore one needs to be sceptical and question these things. The fact that an institution was advertised in international media doesn’t guarantee its legitimacy.

“Grade 12 pupils please do thorough research about your institution of choice”, said Dr Buthelezi.

Adding to his warnings, Buthelezi said that everyone has the right to query an institution of learning of its registration certificates with the DHET before making an application or paying any fees.

The fly-by-night colleges are said to be using flashy flyers claiming to be offering international qualifications that are not recognised in South Africa as they are not registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

A victim of the scam, Noluyanda Ngoboza from Mt Frere who didn’t want to mention the institution that robbed her fearing prejudice said; after learning that the private college she was enrolled with was not recognised by the DHET, she reported the matter to the police.

“I was registered for a National Certificate in Information Technology. In the seventh month of my academic year coming following the June – July winter holidays in Cape Town, my cousins told me oabout such colleges, which they say are prevalent in the Western Cape.

“The matter bothered me and I decided to question my Zimbabwean lecturer about the legitimacy of the college. He freaked out at me and that’s when I started panicking.

“I continued digging for answers and finally the secretary at the college told me that the college was not legitimate. She told me that they never open a permanent campus, they operate for a year in one area and the following year they migrate to somewhere else far.

“I went to open a case of fraud at the police station but the police officers said they don’t deal with such cases,” said Noluyanda.

Another victim of the same modus operandi Olona Ngozi said there is still a college   of such repute operating on Oxford Street, but did not want to divulge the name of the institution.

Shedding light on the matter, Dr Buthelezi said that there is a special task team employed to help clampdown on such colleges called, the National Bogus Colleges Task Team ofwhich the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) forms part.

Buthelezi added that they work hand in glove with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other enforcement agencies in their cracking down operations.

January 18, 2016, Several Bogus colleges have been bust in the Johannesburg CBD. SABC Digital News:

February 26, 2016, Fraud charges laid against a man running bogus college in downtown JHB. SABC Digital News:

 

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