Students warned of bogus colleges

Students warned of bogus colleges

Registering at a bogus college will not only waste your time but your finances. Here is how to ensure the college is legitimate and registered. 

International graduating students
International graduating students/ iStock

Institutions of higher learning around South Africa are open for registration. 

As thousands of students try to secure a space at the institutions, many bogus colleges also promise qualifications under false pretences. 

Registering at a fake college means that the institution is not registered and will result in you losing thousands of Rands and wasting time that could have been used to ensure that you get the right qualification. 

In 2021, DHET spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said the department had identified 89 bogus private institutions of higher learning operating in South Africa.

Mnisi said the colleges use different methods to lure vulnerable students, including using the name and logo of the DHET. 

“These colleges use a range of methods to mislead the public. The recent trends identified by the department are online operators committing internet fraud by purporting to offer degrees in 15 days, using the name and logo of the DHET. Most of the websites appear to be based in the United States and in the United Kingdom,” he said

READ: How to tell if a college is legit or not

To check if a college/institution of higher learning is legit, it must: 

- Be registered with the Department of Education. 

- It must be accredited by Umalusi or Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), or any other Quality Council. 

- The qualifications must be registered on the NQF by SAQA and students should ask for the SAQA NQF identity numbers. All qualifications must be registered on the  National Quality Framework (NQF). The NQF is a system for ranking the quality of your qualification. The Western Cape government states: 'The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is the system that records the credits assigned to each level of learning achievement in a formal way to ensure that the skills and knowledge that have been learnt are recognised throughout the country.'

The Independent Institute of Education (IIE) states that ‘to legally offer higher education qualifications in South Africa you need to be registered with the Department and your qualifications need to be accredited by the Higher Education Quality Committee and registered on the NQF'.

To show that an institution of higher learning is registered, it is supposed to have a registration certificate. Anyone wanting to enrol at the institution or parents and guardians of students wanting to register are asked to ask for this certificate and to verify with the DHET. The certificate must include the following information: Name of the institution, the site, the programmes it offers, and the registration period of the institution.

The DHET also has a toll-free number, 0800 87 2222, that the public can call to check if an institution is registered. 

READ: Higher Education Dept warns of bogus colleges

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