As the rush to secure a spot at institutions of higher learning for the 2016 academic year intensifies, prospective students have been warned against being taken advantage of by bogus colleges.
“There has been an influx of fly-by-night colleges around various parts of Soshanguve and Mabopane. Most of these colleges are owned by foreigners,” Rietgat police spokesperson Lolo Mangena said.
He said a group of students recently came to the police station to lay fraud charges against the owner of Multi Careers College operating at Central House in Mabopane, Rekord North reported.
“The students paid registration fees, and later started demanding their money back when questions were raised about the authenticity of the college,” said Mangena.
He urged students to verify the accreditation of any private college or university before enrolling for studies.
Earlier this year, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni cautioned students and parents to be extra careful and guard against being conned by bogus institutions when registering this year, according to a Zululand Obsever report.
“We have seen people being scammed and this year, as government, we do not want to see the same thing (happening),” Nkonyeni said.
She advised parents to take an interest in the whole process of finding an institution of higher learning for their children.
“Parents need to make sure that schools where they register their children are fully registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Department of Higher Education and Training,” she said.
According to education expert Graeme Bloch, the presence of bogus colleges in South Africa negatively affects the country’s education system.
“It becomes a problem because [prospective students] can’t tell which institutions are good and which ones are bad. This also badly affects the students’ employability,” Bloch said.
Khaye Nkwanyana, spokesperson for the Department of Higher Education, urged prospective students to verify the registration status of these institutions with the department.
“Students must be circumspect of the bogus colleges offering unaccredited programmes. The department is working closely with the police and other law-enforcement agencies to close down unregistered private institutions,” he said.
– Caxton News Service