Beware of fly-by-night colleges, Minister Blade Nzimande warns prospective students

Published Jan 5, 2023


The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, has cautioned parents, guardians and particularly students to be careful of illegal or bogus colleges.

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

This follows a number of students being victims of colleges that were not legally registered to provide higher education to the people. Some of the students could not apply for jobs or continue with their studies due to fake and illegal certificates.

“Fly-by-night” colleges are normally classified as institutions that are not registered for learning with the relevant Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas), the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) or other relevant bodies.

The minister said the illegal colleges offer compromised qualifications which are not recognised for employment purposes or for further studying.

Although the department has been successful in shutting down and is still hard at work in eliminating unlicensed operators, Nzimande said there are still many students who continue to register and unlawfully grant fake qualifications.

The minister added that the department is working closely with law enforcement agencies to close down on these colleges.

“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 both print and electronic media,” he said.

Furthermore, he advised students who wish to enrol at private colleges to check their registration status with the department through its toll-free number, 0800 872 222.

Alternatively, students were urged to log on to the website of the department where the ‘Register of Private Colleges’ is published and updated on a regular basis to verify if they are legit.

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