Cop course in traffic not legal, says FET

THE traffic police course currently offered by the Springfield FET College in Durban is not accredited and the institution is also operating illegally on the city centre site, says the Higher Education Department.

THE traffic police course currently offered by the Springfield FET College in Durban is not accredited and the institution is also operating illegally on the city centre site, says the Higher Education Department.

"The college is only provisionally registered to offer the national certificate in information technology (end user computing) in Pretoria. They also have no permission to operate in Durban," FET colleges chief director Bheki Mahlobo said.

The Springfield FET College, which operates at Durban's Commercial City building, was registered to operate at 291 Schoeman Street in Pretoria, he said.

"Should the college offer further education and training qualifications at any site of delivery except the qualification and the site mentioned above it is doing so illegally," Mahlobo said.

Higher Education's director- general Mary Metcalfe said colleges were not allowed to offer any programme that was not listed in their certificate - and that they were not allowed to operate on any campus or site that was not accredited.

This was in terms of legislation that had been put into place to ensure that private providers meet minimum standards of quality.

"This legislation exists to protect the public from institutions that might not meet acceptable standards and prevent families from investing in worthless educational activities," she said.

The department investigated the status of the Springfield FET College three weeks ago after it was alerted to the fact that students suspected their three-year-course was not accredited. Students, most of them poor children from the rural areas, pay R1450 for registration and the course costs R10000 a year.

College spokesperson Innocent Bukenya said it was untrue that his college was only allowed to offer the information technology course.

Students, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they had been told that they would be employed by the Road Traffic Inspectorate and municipality traffic departments.

The students claimed that they were intimidated by managers of the college when they started raising questions about the course.

Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said they did not hire traffic officers from private colleges.

"We train our own people. We have no arrangements with private colleges to supply us with traffic officers."

The eThekwini municipality also trained its own traffic offers.

"We are busy training them even now. This shows that we don't recruit from private colleges," Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo said.

Bukenya said his college was still planning to cajole municipalities and RTI into employing their graduates.

"Though we do not have any arrangements at the moment, we strongly believe that our graduates have a greater chance of getting jobs because of the training we give them," he said.

Bukenya said he did not know how many graduates had been employed as traffic officers.

lFor information on the registration status of private FET colleges the public can contact the department on 012-312-5878 or visit the department's website at www.education.gov.za. - Sapa

X