As the school year begins many young people are eager to get into good tertiary institutions, however, this time of year is rife with bogus or “fly-by-night” institutions. The Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea) warns against these colleges and universities as they often take advantage of vulnerable people.
According to the department qualifications from these higher learning institutions are not recognised by employers. “Properly registered institutions or places of employment do not recognize certificates issued by these unregistered institutions,” said Destea Communication’s Officer Timothy Radikeledi.
Fly-by-night educational institutions are those institutions that are not registered with the correct SETA, Department of Basic Education or the Department of Higher Education and Training or other relevant bodies of institutions of learning.
The department warns that not all fake institutions are rundown as some may have the physical aspects to make them seem legitimate.
“Whilst some of these institutions are found in dingy places, some are found in upmarket areas and are situated in plush buildings and operate what on face value looks like a legitimate educational facility. They have basic convincing things like physical addresses, a landline number, a website and they even post photos of their graduates,” said Radikeledi.
“Unfortunately many people only realise that these institutions are bogus after they have already lost time, effort and money,” he added.
These unregistered institutions often change premises to avoid being traced. They also mislead people, exploit their emotions and take advantage of poverty and unemployment.
“Unregistered institutions take advantage of the stringent entrance requirements in recognized institutions of learning and subsequently admit students who do not meet these requirements,” read a statement by the department.
In the event of doubt about the credibility of the academic, institutions, members of the public are advised to immediately contact the department of education.
Before one registers at any institution or signs any contract/agreement with an educational type of an institution, ensure that you have confirmed whether:
- The institution is registered/accredited to offer this qualification.
- It is accredited by the relevant accreditation body and the validity of the skills offered by them; e.g. South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), Skills Edu cation Training Authorities (SETA) and the National Qualification Framework (NQF).
- Recognised institution recognises the qualifications offered by the educational institution. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele