Higher education and training officials looking at an advertising board at Rostec Colege in Rustenburg, the college advertised it offers Diploma courses. PHOTO: Molaole Montsho/ANA

Rustenburg - There is a need to review how private colleges are registered in South Africa, the department of higher education and training (DHET) said on Thursday.

"Some of the lessons we learn from the campaign is that we need to revisit and review the policy on how we register because currently we register even a college that offers one qualification.  I think there is a need to review that, the need to review the site or campus they operate and to review how to engage with the law enforcement agency," said Dr Shaheeda Essack, director for registration of private higher education institutions.

She was leading a team of officials on public awareness campaign aimed at enforcing compliance with the relevant legislation in the private college sector.

She said there were man "shenanigans" in the private college sectors and the law enforcement agencies as well as the public need to be aware of that.

"There  is a lot of shenanigans, a certificate is passed on for a diploma,   memorandum of understanding [MoU] is signed, students are shown that MoU...
"What we have discovered in the passed six months is that many private colleges registered one or two qualifications with the department, they hide behind that registration to offer a range of unaccredited programmes."

Dr Shaheeda Essack, director: registration of private higher education shuts down Sandton Technical College in Rustenburg. MEDIA: Molaole Montsho/ANA

She said the other problems in the sectors was that private colleges operate on sites or branches accredited, franchising and outsourcing was also rife in the private college sector.

The colleges also claimed to offer diploma course while they in fact offer higher certificates qualifications.

Sandton Technical College was ordered to shut down immediately and refund all the money over 40 prospective students had paid.

The college was shut down after it was found to operate illegally, the Rustenburg branch was not accredited for the course it was offering, the course were only accredited for the Pretoria branch.

College principal Robert Matarise said the college would start to refund students on Thursday. One student had paid R6,500 and was at the college to present proof of payment.

Rostec College was found not to have been accredited for the courses it offered, the college said it was being used as a teaching centre and students go to Pretoria for examination.

Essack ordered the college to stop all activities including enrolling students for other campus until it was accredited with the relevant authorities, the college was allowed to continue with its Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) course as it was found to be properly accredited.

Brooklyn City College was ordered to stopped offering N1, N2 and N3 engineering studies because its registration with South Africa's Quality Council for General and Further Education and Training, Umalusi, had lapsed in December.

The college's operation in Brits and Kuruman were declared illegal and ordered to stop all activities.

Global Tech and Roseville College did not register any student as they were still waiting for their accreditation.

According to the DHET, Platinum Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College, is not registered with the department as a private college yet, it was advertising and enrolling students for engineering studies N1 to N3.

The college is accredited by the Quality Council for Trade and Occupation (QCTO) at Steen Street in Rustenburg, however it was operating at a different address in Heystek Street in Rustenburg.

Rock of Springs was registered with the department to offer course in Brits and Germiston. Its Rustenburg branch was not in the department's register.

Students and parents welcomed the inspection.

"I was here [at Rostec] to register my child for matric re-write, your presence help a lot. I now know that the program my child want is accredited," said Sebolail Pilane.

Keorapetse Thibudu of Boitekong was furious that he paid money at Sandton Technical College.

"I saved this money for over two years, I was just about to pay R800, already I paid R700. I want my hard earned R1500 back. The department is doing well in inspecting these colleges, we nearly lost money," he said.

"There are a lot of fly by night colleges and we do not know which college is bogus or proper."

African News Agency/ANA