Quality assurance bodies in the country have voiced concerns over the “rapid increase” in bogus institutions sprouting up in major economic centres across the country.
In a joint briefing held in Pretoria earlier today, Umalusi, alongside the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) raised concerns about the proliferation and steady presence of bogus institutions lying in wait to take advantage of vulnerable learners.
The CEO for the Quality Council for General and Further Education and Training, Umalusi, Dr Mafu Rakometsi, said the prevalence of bogus institutions in the major commercial centres across the country was of great concern to the regulatory bodies.
Rakometsi said what often happened was that a learner left a deep rural area with the aim of attending their further education at institutions such as the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) or the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
However, upon their arrival to Gauteng, they discover that they were not admitted, and ultimately end up being lured by bogus institutions.
“The parents continue to send money, believing that their child is either at UJ or Wits, and this is how these things happen. So our appeal as a collective is for parents not to leave children to their own devices when they come to major centres as sometimes they get blinded by the bright lights of Gauteng.
“As parents we have to follow up, get to know the information, come visit the centre, check the registration and check with us – our numbers are widely available. That is why we are pleading to say please verify these institutions.”
The CEO said the reason this was so important was due to the fact that the quality assurance bodies on their own simply did not have the capacity to enforce the law and could only rely on the law enforcement agencies assistance.
Vijayen Naidoo, the chief executive at QCTO, added that apart from commercial centres, social media had also become an absolute selling point for the providers.
“A lot of people are being attracted to what they find on social media and falling prey to that. It takes some money to set up a building or rent, but it’s much cheaper to get away with it on social media and that is what we found in our space.”
Naidoo said this was especially the case as there had also been an increase in bogus colleges operating within the skills development space.
“Even before they have even appeared on the radar they have already issued certificates that are not valid to learners, and then only to relocate.”