The Department of Higher Education and Training established a Stakeholder Forum, including the National Prosecuting Authority, APPETD, the Council on Higher Education, Umalusi, and the South African Qualifications Authority, to support police in enforcing regulation of private FET colleges.
Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande, in response to police raids on unregistered private colleges and the arrests of operators, commented: “We have been concerned by the activities of some private education institutions which constitute fraud and criminal offences.
“DHET has been working with the police in their investigations into reported cases of alleged fraudulent activities by some private education institutions. The operation of private institutions without registration was outlawed in 2005, but many fly by night colleges continue to operate and attract thousands of students every year.
“Since 2005, the Department received 935 applications for registration as Further Education and Training (FET) colleges. Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape account for 464, 175 and 134, respectively, while the other six provinces constitute the remaining 163 applications.
“The Department’s own investigations based on students’ complaints have revealed that the majority of institutions not registered are located Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.”
DHET Minister Nzimande recently met Association of Private Providers of Education, Training and Development (APPETD) to discuss the problem of illegal colleges and institutions which offer courses which are not registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training. He expressed his concern about the quality of courses offered which are not registered.
“We cannot taint all private colleges as some are abiding by the law and offering good quality courses. However these colleges are being discredited by the fly by night institutions that exploit people who are desperate for education and training qualifications.
Institutions which are closed down for non registration should remain closed until they are registered as private FET colleges. Institutions may not operate if their applications for the registration are pending.
Students who are victims of illegally operating institutions which have been closed down should act to claim legal compensation from those institutions.
Minister Nzimande urges students and parents to verify the registration status of institutions with the Department of Higher Education and Training before enrolling for courses.
Registration can be verified on the Department’s website, http://www.education.gov.za or by calling 012 312 5878 or fax 012 323 8817.
Police are visiting private schools around the country to verify their status. The four suspected institutions, and owners, are;
• Health Academy Institution; director D Xcumalo, a South African
• Victory Training College; director HM Mukasa, a Ugandan citizen
• Shepperd Academy; director LE Dolo, a South African
• Central College of Business and Computer Studies; director I Anye, a Zimbabwean.
• Witwatersrand College of Commerce; owned by F Thuri, a Nigerian who owns 28 schools around South Africa. He was at large at the time of the police action.
Police conducted operations in Pretoria and Johannesburg for unregistered private Further
Education and Training (FET) Colleges. They visited five institutions in Pretoria and out of the five only one was registered on the Department of Higher Education database, reports Skillzhub.
“Law enforcement agencies will be tough on these scoundrels, who are driven by greed… robbing our children of a bright future,” said Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Four directors were arrested and detained at the Pretoria Central police station awaiting appearance in court.
At some bogus colleges, students pay R700 per month, or R8 400 per year. Police confiscated certificates, computers, fax machines and exam results. After the students ‘passed’ their exams he issued them with false certificates which are not recognised by the Department of Higher Education.
The suspects have contravened Further Education and Training Colleges Act of 2006 (Act 16 of 2006 Section 28 and Section 31 (3) of the Act and Regulation 12 (4) (b). Penalties involve up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of R250 000 or both, warned Minister Mthethwa.
“Fees at some of these ‘institutions’ are “ridiculous to say the least… We call on students to assist their parents in thoroughly researching prior to enrolling.”