SOWETAN | Educor has failed its students

27 March 2024 - 14:38
Damelin College in Braamfontein
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE Damelin College in Braamfontein

Private education group Educor’s response to the de-registration of its colleges this week is the clearest demonstration of how the company has no respect for accountability and is in fact out of touch with reality. 

Last week, the higher education department published a government notice announcing the de-registration of Damelin, City Varsity, Lyceum and Icesa City Campus colleges. 

This is because of Educor’s failure to submit financial statements, tax clearance certificates for at least two years as well as failure to comply with other legal regulations. 

The move will have major consequences for its students across the country.  More broadly, it will reduce already limited access to opportunities in higher education for prospective students. 

But the department’s decision is the correct one. No institution can be allowed to take money from students with the promise to deliver education services only to fail at the most basic of functions of good governance.

In his briefing yesterday, higher education minister Blade Nzimande said the company was dysfunctional. He accused it of maladministration, poor quality education and a lack of administrative support to its students. 

This is evidenced by claims from workers who have not been paid in November and December last year. It is evidenced by the de-registration of some of its courses and even students who are due to be refunded, only to be met with a wall of silence from campus administrators. 

Educor’s response to the de-registration announcement has been incompetent at best, arrogant and disingenuous at worst. The company fails to take any responsibility for its failure to comply with the law. 

Instead, it feigns shock at what it claims was a leaked notice from July last year to de-register its colleges. There was no leak. The government made a transparent announcement to inform the public of Educor’s governance failures. 

Any responsible state has a duty to do so in the public interest. 

Furthermore, the company’s claim that the department’s actions were offensive to private education investors shows its arrogance and a misguided belief that the company is above the laws of the country simply because it is privately funded. 

Educor has important questions to answer. 

Until it answers them, the government must stand by its decision to protect vulnerable students who may be taken for a ride by an institution that has no sense of accountability.