1 February 2023
This time of year, bogus colleges that are not recognized nor accredited as public or private higher education institutions with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to offer educational programs under section 51(1) of the Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997) prey on desperate students.
Before enrolling at any college, students should research the institution’s registration with the relevant authorities, history, location, professionalism of its personnel in dealing with current and prospective students, and administrative structure.
Because of bogus colleges, students are left with invalid higher education diplomas or certificates at the end of the academic year, and tuition fees are wasted. Below are a few warning signs that students and parents should look out for before registering at a college or an institution of higher education and training:
- Consultants promise students jobs after graduation.
- Consultants and websites offer two degrees for one or massive discounts.
- Exaggerated and numerous claims on accreditation to land credibility to the college.
- The college’s name is similar or identical to prestigious universities such as Cambridge and Oxford.
- Questionable application form as some formal information or proof of standard documents is not required.
- The absence of a physical address for the legal entity called the institution or the awarding body.
- Local tuition centers are proposing to offer qualifications on behalf of foreign and international universities.
- Continued and undue emphasis on international accreditations and international qualifications.
- Diplomas and degrees are offered in a short period.
- Absence of formal accreditation with CHE or SAQA.
Public and private colleges, universities and FET institutions are to be registered with the DHET, wherein they will have a registration certificate typically displayed on the institution’s premises. The certificate contains the institution details, the provider, and all the qualifications offered by the institution.
Students and parents must check if any of the following boards accredits the course that they intend to register for:
- Council for Higher education (CHE).
- Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA).
- Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).
- If the qualification is accredited, it should also be registered with the South African Quality Authority (SAQA).
Once you have confirmed the college registration, you may check if they can offer the course you want to do. The DHET will refer you to the relevant accreditation bodies for further assistance.
UASA awards study grants to its members and dependants each year for further education studies for students already studying at an accredited institution of higher education. Subject to the availability of funds, thirty-two (32) grants are paid out per annum and awarded to qualifying students. The once-off grants enable UASA members or their dependents to further their studies.
UASA members are encouraged to visit the union’s website to apply for 2023. Applications are open until 31 March 2023.