Students warned to beware of bogus institutions

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James Mahlokwane

Prospective students have been warned to look out for bogus institutions of higher learning amid a scramble to get spaces.

The warning was issued by the Department of Higher Education and the police, who say fraudulent advertisements would be on the rise, after the release of the matric results.

Every year, scores of students discover that they wasted their money by enrolling to acquire tertiary qualifications at institutions not registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

These bogus institutions take advantage of unsuspecting students seeking to better their lives through education.

Victims often discover the deception too late.

They then detect that the qualifications offered are not recognised by regulatory bodies such as the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) and the Quality Council For Trades and Occupations (QCTO).

Numerous colleges are said to have opened their doors in and around the country’s busiest CBDs. And many of them operated for years before being busted and shut down.

“In fact, the police have warned that these institutions use marketing strategies to lure prospective students into the scheme so they could be robbed of their money,” higher education officials have said.

The police have warned prospective students to be aware and cautious when looking into studying at private colleges because some were fly-by-night operations.

Police had worked closely with the Department of Higher Education and Training to shut these bogus institutions down once discovered.

The department’s Register of Private Higher Education Institution’s Dr Shaheeda Essack said these institutions often had convincing names and offered the “convenience” to complete degrees in as little as a few months.

People who have queries or doubts about the status of an institution are urged to contact Dr Shaheeda Essack on 0123125444.

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