Matrics, do not be misled by 'fly-by-night' colleges, warns Blade Nzimande

Minister of higher education, science and technology Dr Blade Nzimande has warned students and parents against falling victim to illegal colleges.
Minister of higher education, science and technology Dr Blade Nzimande has warned students and parents against falling victim to illegal colleges.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

With the 2019 matric results released, minister of higher education, science and technology Dr Blade Nzimande has warned students and parents against falling victim to illegal or “fly-by-night” colleges.

At least 409,906 pupils passed matric in the NSC (National Senior Certificate) curriculum. 

In the IEB (Independent Examinations Board) curriculum, 12,595 students sat for the  examination and more than 12,000 passed, the majority with bachelor passes. 

Nzimande said bogus colleges were not registered as institutions of learning with the correct bodies, such as sector education and training authorities (Setas) and the department of higher education & training.

“These institutions lure and mislead future students into believing that these colleges offer qualifications that are recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).



“These illegal colleges offer compromised qualifications which are not recognised for employment purposes or for further studying,” said Nzimande.

The minister said past operations to get rid of bogus colleges had been successful, but somehow they still mushroomed and many students continued to register, obtaining fake qualifications.

“The number of colleges that are operating illegally has decreased tremendously over the years. The decrease can be attributed to our monitoring awareness campaigns and our collaboration with print and electronic media,” said Nzimande.

He said he was working closely with law-enforcement agencies to close down bogus colleges.

Prospective students wanting to enrol at private colleges have been urged to check the registration statuses thereof with the department through its toll-free number, 0800 872 222.

The department gave the following tips on how to identify “fly-by-night” colleges:

• Before enrolling with a private higher education institution, ask for evidence that the institution and its programmes are registered. This evidence is the certificate of registration and the registration number issued by the department.

• Before enrolling, make sure the institution offers learning programmes and qualifications at the level at which you want to qualify.

• Claims by an institution that it is offering internationally recognised higher education programmes, while not registered to operate in SA, are misleading. Get the right information from the department.


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